Immediately before Reid’s announcement GOP Sens. John McCainJohn McCainThe Obama presidency that never was Week ahead: Comey under fire; Lawmakers look for Russia response McCain leans toward voting for Tillerson MORE (Ariz.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderWeek ahead: Trump nominees brace for round two of hearings Trump education pick to face Warren, Sanders 9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for MORE (Tenn.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGraham, Cruz proposal to defund the U.N. is misguided 9 GOP senators Trump must watch out for UN leader willing to meet lawmakers amid push to cut funding MORE (S.C.) said they would support a cloture vote on Hagel’s nomination when the Senate returns from recess on Feb. 25.
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 CruzTed CruzGraham, Cruz proposal to defund the U.N. is misguided Right renews push for term limits as Trump takes power Dissenting nominees give hope to GOP skeptics of Trump MORE (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 InhofeJames InhofeSenate teeing up Mattis waiver Lawmakers play nice at Russia hacking hearing Senate chairman meets Trump’s EPA nominee MORE (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.