Hagel Confirmed As Defense Secretary

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The Senate has voted to confirm Chuck Hagel to be the nation's next defense secretary.

The vote Tuesday was 58-41, with four Republicans joining Democrats in backing President Barack Obama's nominee.

The vote ended a contentious fight over the president's choice for his second-term national security team.

Republicans opposed the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska, casting him as out of the mainstream and overly critical of Israel. But Democrats stood together for Hagel, a twice-wounded Vietnam combat veteran.

Hagel will succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is stepping down after four years as CIA director and Pentagon chief.

The vote came just hours after Republicans dropped their delay and allowed the nomination to move forward. The Senate vote to end the filibuster was 71-27.

Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns voted in support of Hagel, while Nebraska's junior Senator Deb Fischer voted in opposition.

Johanns was one of four republicans who voted in support of Hagel to be defense secretary. Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Richard Shelby of Alabama were the others.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (R) issued a statement why he voted against him. “My opposition is based on doubts about Senator Hagel’s views on America’s relationship with Israel, his position against U.S. sanctions against Iran, and his underestimation of the security threat posed by the dangerous regime in Iran.”

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