Senate sets up vote on cloture motion on Hagel's nomination Thursday

Immediately before Reid’s announcement GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) said they would support a cloture vote on Hagel’s nomination when the Senate returns from recess on Feb. 25.

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“I will vote for cloture so that there is an up or down vote,” Alexander said.  “I think president is entitled to that but not prematurely.”

The GOP senators said they are still concerned that questions have not be answered on speeches the nominee gave and his compensation for them. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at a hearing this week suggested the speeches were given to extreme or radical groups, a statement some Democrats have criticized.

“There are still questions outstanding,” McCain said. “I believe senators have the right to have those questions answered. … During the break there is sufficient time to get questions answered and the day we get back I will vote in support of the cloture motion.”

All three Republicans made it clear that just because they would vote for cloture in two weeks did not mean they would vote for his confirmation.

The vote was originally scheduled for Friday, since Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and other GOP senators were blocking Hagel's nomination, but the Senate leaders likely reached a deal to hold the vote early in order to avoid having to stay in session Friday.