The Senate will approve the nomination of former Sen. Chuck HagelChuck HagelCreating a future for vets in DC Republicans back Clinton, but will she put them in Pentagon? There's still time for another third-party option MORE (R-Neb.) this coming week, Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnRyan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight The Trail 2016: Words matter Ex-Sen. Coburn: I won’t challenge Trump, I’ll vote for him MORE (R-Okla.) predicted Sunday, but with so many “no” votes that he'll be an ineffective secretary of Defense.
“He doesn't have the confidence of the vast majority of the Senate, which weakens him in that position,” said Coburn, the top Republican on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” “The fact is that in modern times we haven't had one Defense secretary who's had more than three votes against him.
Republicans filibustered Hagel’s nomination earlier this month, the first ever for a Defense nominee, calling for more time to weigh his selection.
Sens. John McCainJohn McCainGreen Beret awarded for heroism during 'pandemonium' of Boston bombing House passes bill exempting some from ObamaCare mandate NBC's Lester Holt emerges from debate bruised and partisan MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamObama nominates ambassador to Cuba Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears Shutdown risk grows over Flint MORE (R-S.C.), two of Hagel's toughest critics, though, said last week they would stop blocking his nomination after he disavowed comments he'd made about the Israeli lobby dominating U.S. foreign policy. That sets up a vote for as soon as this coming week.
But while Hagel, who has the support of Democratic senators and three Republicans is likely to win an up-or-down vote, many GOP lawmakers have continued to express serious concerns about his nomination. Coburn was one of 15 Republican senators who signed a letter this past week urging Obama to withdraw Hagel's nomination.
"While we respect Senator Hagel's honorable military service, in the interest of national security, we respectfully request that you withdraw his nomination. It would be unprecedented for a Secretary of Defense to take office without the broad base of bipartisan support and confidence needed to serve effectively in this critical position," reads the letter, which was spearheaded by Senate Minority Whip John CornynJohn CornynDems gain upper hand on budget McConnell: Senate could drop flood money from spending bill Funding bill rejected as shutdown nears MORE (R-Texas).
“Senator Hagel’s performance at his confirmation hearing was deeply concerning, leading to serious doubts about his basic competence to meet the substantial demands of the office. While Senator Hagel's erratic record and myriad conversions on key national security issues are troubling enough, his statements regarding Iran were disconcerting.”
Asked about Hagel's poor showing at his confirmation hearing, Senate Armed Services Committee member Claire McCaskillClaire McCaskillFacebook steps up fight against fake news The Trail 2016: Off the sick bed McCaskill: Trump and Dr. Oz a 'marriage made in heaven' MORE (D-Mo.) said that shouldn't be a reason to vote against the president's choice, and defended the nominee.
During the hearing Hagel said he misspoke when he said he supported containing Iran's nuclear program, a sharp departure from Obama's stated position that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable.
“Should he be disqualified because he wasn't as articulate in the committee as he should have been?” McCaskill said, also on Fox. “I don't think he should be.”