Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidReid: Comey should be investigated in wake of Russia report Spokesman: NY Times ignored Reid's comments in pre-election story on Russia Senate passes dozens of bills on way out of town MORE (D-Nev.) said Tuesday he will not honor requests from Republican senators to hold up the nomination of Chuck HagelChuck HagelLobbying World Ex-Dem leader: Clinton should include GOP in Cabinet Even Steven: How would a 50-50 Senate operate? MORE 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 GrahamLindsey GrahamDemocrats unnerved by Trump's reliance on generals Graham slams Russia Second Dem calls for probe into Russian election involvement MORE (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 McConnellMitch McConnellRepublican wins La. Senate runoff in final 2016 race Heitkamp is Trump's top choice for Agriculture secretary: report Schumer calls for Senate probe into Russian interference MORE (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.