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GOP votes against Hagel increase

Twelve Republican senators now say they will vote against former Sen. Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelFormer Republican national security officials demand GOP leaders denounce Trump's refusal to concede election Republicans who could serve in a Biden government How a tied Senate could lead a divided America MORE's (R-Neb.) confirmation as Defense secretary. 

Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntTop GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week McConnell offering new coronavirus relief bill after talks with Mnuchin, Meadows Bipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal MORE (Mo.), Mark KirkMark Steven KirkSenate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Senate makes SCOTUS nominee Barrett a proxy for divisive 2020 Senate Republicans scramble to put Trump at arm's length MORE (Ill.) and Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrRep. Mark Walker announces Senate bid in North Carolina North Carolina — still purple but up for grabs North Carolina's Mark Walker expected to announce Senate bid 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 Antonio RubioPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Coast-to-coast fears about post-holiday COVID-19 spread Potential 2024 Republicans flock to Georgia amid Senate runoffs MORE (Fla.) and Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsBiden soars as leader of the free world Lobbying world President Trump: To know him is to 'No' him MORE (Ind.) said Thursday they were voting against Hagel.

Several more Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBarr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel Democracy is the MVP in 2020 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms 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 CochranWilliam (Thad) Thad CochranAlabama zeroes in on Richard Shelby's future Hyde-Smith fends off challenge from Espy in Mississippi Obama endorses Espy in Mississippi Senate race 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 CornynMcCaskill: 'Hypocrisy' for GOP to target Biden nominee's tweets after Trump Former Senate hopeful auctioning off Harley-Davidson featured prominently in her campaign ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms MORE (Texas), James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeCongress set for chaotic year-end sprint House Democrats back slower timeline for changing Confederate base names Barrasso to seek top spot on Energy and Natural Resources Committee MORE (R-Okla.), Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz urges Supreme Court to take up Pennsylvania election challenge OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Trump administration proceeds with rollback of bird protections despite objections | Trump banking proposal on fossil fuels sparks backlash from libertarians | EU 2019 greenhouse gas emissions down 24 percent Trump's NATO ambassador pledges 'seamless' transition to Biden administration MORE (Texas), David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBottom line Lysol, Charmin keep new consumer brand group lobbyist busy during pandemic Bottom line MORE (La.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerGOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics Republicans start turning the page on Trump era The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states MORE (Miss.), Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsTrump's controversial Fed nominee stalled after Senate setback Business groups scramble to forge ties amid race for House Agriculture chair Republicans hold on to competitive Kansas House seat MORE (Kan.) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnDemocrats step up hardball tactics in Supreme Court fight COVID response shows a way forward on private gun sale checks Inspector general independence must be a bipartisan priority in 2020 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.