The new White House chief of staff says there's "a grave concern" about delays in assembling President Obama's second-term national security team.
Senate Republicans have stalled the nominations of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary and John Brennan to be CIA director.
GOP lawmakers want more answers about the White House's handling of the September 11th attack on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, but Hagel had no role in that crisis.
Obama aide Denis McDonough says Hagel, a Vietnam combat veteran and a former Republican senator from Nebraska, is well-qualified to lead the Pentagon. McDonough says Hagel "has one thing in mind: 'How do we protect the country?'"
As for Brennan, Republicans are demanding more details about Benghazi and about drone strikes against suspected terrorists.
“When it comes to national defense, national security, at least be above politics,” said McDonough. “I hate to see this being played politics with here in Washington."
“We have an obligation of advice and consent,” said Arizona Sen. John McCain. “I don't intend to give those up when other senators continue to have reasonable questions and I mean reasonable." McCain predicts Hagel will have the votes necessary to be confirmed.
Lawmakers are on recess this week.