By Alexander Bolton - 02/12/13 07:42 PM EST
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday he will not honor requests from Republican senators to hold up the nomination of Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department.
This will force Republicans who want to delay Hagel's nomination to be on the Senate floor to object to an effort to schedule a vote.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said over the weekend he would hold up Hagel and John Brennan, President Obama's pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, unless the administration provides more information about its response to last year's terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Reid told reporters after a press conference Tuesday that he views holds as a courtesy the leader extends to rank-and-file members, and that he does not believe hold requests he views as unreasonable deserve to be recognized.
By stating he will ignore Graham's hold, Reid has signaled he will immediately file a motion to end debate on the Hagel nomination. If Graham or another GOP senator objects, Reid would need 60 votes to advance Hagel.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) told reporters that he would not be surprised if Hagel needed 60 votes to win confirmation.
Hagel formerly served in the Senate as a Republican representing Nebraska. He has come under criticism from former colleagues for his past statements on the war in Iraq, Israel and Iran.
Reid said he hopes the Senate will confirm Hagel this week. The Senate Armed Services Committee was expected to approve Hagel's nomination Tuesday afternoon.