McConnell: Senate GOP could filibuster Hagel

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Saturday that there’s a chance Republicans will filibuster former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination as secretary of defense. 

“Sen. Hagel did not do a very good job before the Armed Services committee,” McConnell said. “I think the opposition to him is intensifying. Whether that means he will end up having to achieve 60 votes or 51 is not clear yet.” McConnell did not say how he planned to vote.

A filibuster against Hagel would be unprecedented. A Cabinet nominee has never been defeated by filibuster, although nominees have been voted down by a majority (John Tower was the first in three decades) or pulled over scandal or opposition (Tom Daschle, Bernard Kerik).

Individual Democrats have, in the past, put holds on Cabinet nominees — Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) put a hold on President George W. Bush’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, Stephen Johnson, and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) put one on Dirk Kempthorne, Bush’s nominee for Interior. But Democratic leadership did not wrangle enough votes to block a cloture vote. (Judicial and non-Cabinet level nominations are another story.)

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told MSNBC last week that he was against a filibuster, even though he planned to vote against Hagel in the final vote.

“I wouldn’t intend to be a part of [the] majority but certainly my strong inclination would be that this is a vote that should be done by a majority rather than a 60-vote standard,” he said.

Source : washingtonpost[dot]com

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