GOP votes against Hagel increase

Twelve Republican senators now say they will vote against former Sen. Chuck HagelChuck HagelLobbying World The US just attacked Syria. So where's Congress? Senators tear into Marines on nude photo scandal MORE's (R-Neb.) confirmation as Defense secretary. 

Sens. Roy BluntRoy BluntUnited explains passenger removal to senators Disconnect: Trump, GOP not on same page GOP senator: There will never be full U.S.-Mexico border wall MORE (Mo.), Mark KirkMark KirkThe way forward on the Iran nuclear deal under President Trump ObamaCare repeal bill would defund Planned Parenthood Leaked ObamaCare bill would defund Planned Parenthood MORE (Ill.) and Richard BurrRichard BurrTrump voter who cast ballot illegally won’t be charged Burr: US in new Cold War with Russia Senator: No signs of GOP 'slow-walking' Russia investigation MORE (N.C.) became the latest "no" votes on Friday, saying they would oppose Hagel's nomination one day after a shaky confirmation hearing in which Hagel was grilled by Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioLongtime GOP incumbent will not seek reelection Overnight Defense: Commander calls North Korea crisis 'worst' he's seen | Trump signs VA order | Dems push Trump to fill national security posts What’s with Trump’s spelling mistakes? MORE (Fla.) and Dan CoatsDan CoatsSouth Korea missile defense online in ‘coming days’ Sanders on skipping WH Korea briefing: 'I did not want to be part of a photo op' Overnight Defense: Senators go to White House for North Korea briefing | Admiral takes 'hit' for aircraft carrier mixup | Lawmakers urged to beef up US missile defense MORE (Ind.) said Thursday they were voting against Hagel.

Several more Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamTop admiral: North Korea crisis is 'worst I've seen' Comey to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee Overnight Defense: US moving missile defense system to South Korea | Dems want justification for Syria strike | Army pick pushes back against critics of LGBT record MORE (S.C.), haven’t said how they will vote, but are clearly leaning against voting to confirm him.

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Blunt cited Hagel’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday in explaining his decision.

“Senator Hagel’s answers before the committee were simply too inconsistent, particularly as they related to Iran and Israel,” Blunt said in a statement. “The idea that we can contain a nuclear Iran and his view that we should not have unilateral sanctions are just wrong and are too dangerous for us to try.”

Kirk also cited the testimony in suggesting he'd been troubled by Hagel's initial description of Iran's government as being legitimate and elected.

"During yesterday's confirmation hearing, Senator Hagel instinctively called the Iranian government both elected and legitimate," Kirk said in a statement. "He initially offered strong support for containment of Iran, rather than President Obama's stated policy of preventing an Iranian nuclear breakout. He could not clearly explain his past opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran – opposition as recent as 2008."


Blunt, who will also vote on Hagel’s confirmation in the Armed Services Committee, stopped short of supporting a filibuster of Hagel on the Senate floor.

“My strong inclination would be that this is a vote that should be done by a majority rather than a 60-vote standard,” Blunt said on MSNBC.

Thus far, no Republican has threatened to filibuster Hagel’s nomination.

Without a filibuster, Hagel is likely to be confirmed. No Democrats have said they will vote against him, and they enjoy a 55-45 advantage in the Senate. That suggests the confirmation vote will be mostly along party lines — rare for a Defense secretary confirmation — with few Republicans supporting their former Senate colleague.

Sen. Thad CochranThad CochranMcConnell: Senate will pass short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown Lawmakers push one-week stopgap funding bill Picking 2018 candidates pits McConnell vs. GOP groups MORE (Miss.) is the only Republican who has said publicly he supports Hagel.

The other Republicans who have said they will vote against Hagel are Sens. John CornynJohn CornynSenate's No. 2 Republican: Border tax 'probably dead' McConnell: Senate will pass short-term funding bill to avoid shutdown The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Texas), James InhofeJames InhofeTaiwan deserves to participate in United Nations Optimism rising for infrastructure deal Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE (R-Okla.), Ted CruzTed CruzKasich finds it hard to rule out 2020 Trump in campaign mode at NRA convention Trump’s hands are tied on 9th Circuit MORE (Texas), David VitterDavid VitterFormer senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry Former GOP rep joins K Street lobbying firm Capitol Counsel Lobbying World MORE (La.), Roger WickerRoger WickerNet neutrality fight descends into trench warfare Ryan praises FCC chief's plans to roll back net neutrality FCC head unveils plan to roll back net neutrality MORE (Miss.), Pat RobertsPat RobertsUSDA to ease school meal standards Trump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit Overnight Energy: Trump to sign orders on offshore drilling, national monuments MORE (Kan.) and Tom CoburnTom CoburnFreedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC Coburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential MORE (Okla.).

Burr said in a statement that Thursday’s hearing reiterated “many of the concerns I had about his confirmation," according to WWAY.

“After reviewing the hearing, and Sen. Hagel's answers to the questions put to him, it is clear that I cannot support his nomination, and I will vote against his nomination should it reach the Senate floor,” Burr said.

— Published at 11:43 a.m. and updated at 3:10 p.m.