Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said that he will not honor any requests for a “hold” on the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) as Secretary of Defense. That means Hagel’s vote will proceed to the Senate floor later this week. However, Hagel may still need 60 votes to be confirmed.
That is because if one of the Senators who has requested a hold objects at the time Reid attempts to push a vote through, the Senate will need a supermajority of 60 votes to overcome the objection and move to a full vote.
That is not a filibuster, since it occurs after debate has already ended, but poses a similar-sized obstacle.
“Holds” are granted as a courtesy by the Majority Leader who wish to extract particular concessions, usually on behalf of their states or a particular constituency. It is rare for a presidential nominee to face a successful hold.
Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee James Inhofe (R-OK) had indicated earlier this week that he would request a hold on the basis of Hagel’s views on Israel, and committee member Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also said he would request a hold to demand further information from the Obama administration about the terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya in September 2012. The committee is meeting, as of this writing, to debate Hagel’s nomination and to vote to recommend him for confirmation by the full Senate.