By Jeremy Herb
The Senate will hold another vote to end debate on former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-Neb.) confirmation on Tuesday, according to a Senate Democratic leadership aide.
If that cloture vote, which requires 60 votes, is successful, then the Senate will hold a final vote on Hagel either Tuesday or Wednesday, the aide said.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) tried to end debate on Hagel’s nomination two weeks ago, but Senate Republicans blocked his nomination from moving forward by filibustering on a 58-40 vote.
Many Republicans, including Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), said they would vote for cloture this week following the recess, in order to give their colleagues more time to look at Hagel’s record and get questions answered.
“I think it will happen, barring some additional revelation concerning his comments on Israel and all those other really unfortunate things he’s said in the past,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Senate Armed Services Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), however, has urged Republicans to vote against cloture, arguing that a vote to end debate is the equivalent of voting for Hagel’s confirmation.
So far, three Republicans have said they will support Hagel’s confirmation outright: Sens. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.).
No Democrat has indicated opposition to Hagel’s confirmation.
The timing of Hagel’s confirmation vote would likely depend on Republicans: Senate rules dictate that 30 hours of post-cloture must pass before a final vote, but that time can be waived if no senator objects.