Chuck Hagel cleared a 60-vote procedural hurdle to confirmation Tuesday, setting up a final vote on his nomination as Defense secretary at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The Senate voted 71-27 in favor of invoking cloture on the nomination of former Sen. Hagel, R-Neb., to be the next Pentagon chief. Eighteen Republicans voted in favor of the motion, which required a three-fifths majority.
Fourteen Republicans voted for cloture Tuesday but not Feb. 14 including: Hatch, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Richard C. Shelby and Jeff Sessions of Alabama, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, John Thune of South Dakota and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
During Tuesday’s cloture vote, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., looked at the clerk’s tally sheet and said, “Seventy-one?” sounding pleased, then went over and shook the hand of Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich.