At the hearing, Hagel had to disavow some of his previous statements he "regretted." For example, Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeDenial of services to same-sex couples can harm their health GOP Senate primary heats up in Montana Senate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA MORE (R-Utah) brought up Hagel's past comment that Israel kept Palestinians "caged up like animals." He also faced criticism for once commenting that the "Jewish lobby" intimidates figures in Washington.

Hagel could secure the nomination with just Democratic support, so long as no GOP member opted to filibuster the pick.