After all the talks of filibustering, it looks like what I predicted is ahead and that is Republicans caving to confirmation of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary. Reuters reports Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) has flopped over to the side of stating he will support Hagel’s nomination.
The Washington Times reports,
Republican Sen. Richard C. Shelby said Thursday he will support Chuck Hagel’s bid to become secretary of defense, nudging the contentious pick to the verge of confirmation even as 15 Republicans senators were urging President Obama to abandon his pick to run the Pentagon.
The senator from Alabama intends to vote for Mr. Hagel “barring any unforeseen surprises between now and the vote” expected next week, a spokesman for Mr. Shelby told The Washington Times.
The shift is significant because Democrats came up one vote short last week of the three-fifths majority needed to force a floor debate on Mr. Hagel’s nomination and move to a confirmation vote, which the former senator from Nebraska is expected to win more easily.
Mr. Shelby becomes the third declared “yes” vote among Republicans — Sens. Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Thad Cochran of Mississippi are the others — and clears some brush from Mr. Hagel’s path to the top civilian post at the Pentagon.
Shelby, who just a week after joining Republicans in their effort to block Hagel’s nomination until he disclosed the requested information about his speeches and finances caved on Thursday afternoon. “He’s probably as good as we’re going to get,” said Shelby said, even as the White House continues their stonewalling in turning over the information that has been requested.
Another Republican is reportedly joining Senator Shelby. Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) told KFAB radio in Omaha, “I will be voting no on the floor.” However, she will vote for cloture, which would bring about a vote on Hagel.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said, “I don’t believe he’s qualified, but I don’t believe we should hold up his confirmation any further. I think it’s a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered.”
It will be interesting to see just how many Republicans go ahead and just let this ride out without getting their questions answered satisfactorily.
While Hagel supporters point to the “manufactured crisis” of the sequester, which was not only Barack Obama’s idea, but was supported by both Democrats and Republicans, as bad timing for the Republicans. They believe the sequester will bring on deep cuts, which is anything but true. It is nothing more than more political theater. There are no real cuts in the sequester. There is merely lower spending each year than predicted, but definitely more than the year before, so that just needs to be put to bed and Republicans ought not try and avoid the sequester, but let it happen. After all, they are the ones stating we ought to be looking at smaller government and less spending, right?
However the question is about Chuck Hagel and whether he is the right person for the job. This isn’t about sequestration.
“If confirmed, Senator Hagel would be the most controversial Secretary of Defense in history,” said Sen. Ted Cruz. “In the last 50 years, no other Secretary of Defense has been confirmed with more than three members voting against him and in the entire history of the position, no one has been confirmed with more than 11 ‘no’ votes. Given Senator Hagel’s disturbing record on foreign policy and poor confirmation hearing performance, he lacks the trust and confidence needed to serve as Defense Secretary at such a critical time.”
A letter (see below) that was signed by some of Hagel’s most outspoken critics, including Senators James M. Inhofe (R-OK), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) read in part, ““Regarding U.S. policy on Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Senator Hagel displayed a seeming ambivalence about whether containment or prevention is the best approach, which gives us great concern.”
Letter Requesting President Obama Withdraw Hagel’s Nomination for Secretary of Defense by Senator Ted Cruz