Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has announced that he has scheduled a committee vote Tuesday on the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) to the post of Secretary of Defense. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who opposes a filibuster of Hagel’s nomination, issued a statement opposing a threatened walkout by Republican members, saying that he believes Hagel has met disclosure requirements.
In a statement released today, McCain stated:
I have examined the information and responses to Members’ questions that Senator Hagel has provided to the Committee, and I believe that he has fulfilled the rigorous requirements that the Committee demands of every Presidential nominee to be Secretary of Defense. As a result, I believe it is appropriate for the Armed Services Committee to vote on Senator Hagel’s nomination and determine whether to move this nomination to the Senate floor where Members can debate and express their own judgments on Senator Hagel. I will not participate in any walkout of tomorrow’s Committee vote – an action that would be disrespectful to Chairman Levin and at odds with the best traditions of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Politico’s Manu Raju has reported that Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) expects a floor vote on Wednesday or Thursday, and that there is not likely to be a filibuster.
Update: Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), the Ranking Member on the committee, has promised that he will place a hold on Hagel’s confirmation “for as long as it takes,” saying that his views are inappropriate for any candidate aspiring to lead the Pentagon. Inhofe spoke to National Review Online:
“Each day that goes by will make it more difficult for Democrats who say they are pro-Israel to hold out,” Inhofe explains. “I want everyone to be very clear about his past statements and his positions.”…
Inhofe’s main concern remains Hagel’s position on Israel. “The anti-Israel history of Chuck Hagel is real,” he says. “We can’t have someone at the Pentagon who has made these kind of statements.”
Hagel’s financial-disclosure issues, he adds, are not central to why he’s working to postpone the nomination. “That doesn’t bother me,” he says. “To me, that’s minor.”
Opponents argue that the hold need not be honored by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.