Obama’s anti-Israel pick Chuck Hagel is confirmed as Defense Secretary.
The US Senate voted to confirm Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary today. The vote was 58-41 with Republicans Shelby from Alabama, Cochran from Mississippi, Rand Paul from Kentucky and Johanns from Nebraska joining Democrats in support of Hagel.
USA Today reported:
The Senate voted 58-41 Tuesday to confirm Chuck Hagel as the new Defense secretary to succeed Leon Panetta, thus ending a contentious battle over his nomination.
Senators voted 71-27 earlier Tuesday afternoon to end debate on President Obama’s nomination of Hagel, a Republican former senator from Nebraska.
Hagel will immediately inherit a budget crisis. Last week, the Pentagon announced it plans to furlough the majority of its 800,000 civilian employees to help meet a $46 billion shortfall caused by automatic spending cuts that begin March 1 and its stopgap budget that prevents shifting funds to urgent needs.
The contentious nomination process will not prevent Hagel from dealing with Congress, George Little, a Pentagon spokesman, said after the vote. Hagel is a “team player” whose interest in cooperation will extend to Congress, Little said.
Hagel has been briefed on issues facing the Pentagon and will be ready to start work immediately, Little said.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) released this statement.
Chuck Hagel will be confirmed because Senate Democrats stood united behind President Obama’s nomination of the most controversial Secretary of Defense in modern times. No one has ever been confirmed to the position with more than 11 “no” votes, until today when a record number of senators voted against his nomination. A great many of us have been concerned about Hagel’s longstanding record of antagonism towards Israel and unwillingness to stand vigorously against Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons. I hope those concerns are proven wrong. I fervently hope that this confirmation does not embolden Iran to accelerate their nuclear weapons development; I fervently hope that this confirmation does not undermine our vital alliance with Israel. Chuck Hagel can prove his critics wrong by standing by his confirmation commitments. He has an enormous task ahead of him, and running the Defense Department will require principled leadership on the world’s stage. I wish Secretary Hagel success in his new role and am committed to working with him to keep America safe and strong.
UPDATE: I admit it. I was a bit off about Hagel. I forgot we’re living in the crazy Obama era.