Hagel confirmation hearing set for Jan. 31

Hagel will face a skeptical crowd of former Senate colleagues. The hearing will likely be the first that Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) presides over as the top Republican on the Armed Services panel. Inhofe was the latest Republican senator to state his opposition to Hagel on Tuesday.

Another three committee members, Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), David Vitter (R-La.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), have all said they are voting against Hagel.

The former Nebraska senator can also expect a grilling from Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.), and some Democrats on the committee — particularly Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) — have also indicated they have issues with Hagel’s past statements.

While Hagel faces the toughest confirmation fight of the president’s three national security Cabinet picks, he will be the first to have his confirmation hearing.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled the confirmation for President Obama’s CIA nominee John Brennan on Feb. 7, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has not scheduled a hearing for its chairman, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the president’s nominee for secretary of State.