The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

February 25, 2013

Hagel appears headed for confirmation this week

WASHINGTON —

As Congress returns to Washington this week, Chuck Hagel appears on track to be confirmed as defense secretary by a deeply divided Senate.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who opposes the nomination, said Sunday that Hagel, who has enough support to win approval if Republicans abandon their delaying tactics, would get a confirmation vote. That vote could take place as early as Tuesday.

“I think it will happen barring some additional revelation concerning his comments about Israel and all those other really unfortunate things he’s said in the past,” McCain said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Hagel’s former Republican colleagues contend that he has been too critical of Israel and not critical enough of Iran. In addition, his support for some Democratic candidates has infuriated the GOP.

Before the Senate began its current, 10-day recess, Republicans succeeded in blocking a confirmation vote on the nomination of Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, by forcing his supporters to find 60 votes. Democrats fell one short.

A majority of senators, virtually all of them Democrats, say they support Hagel’s confirmation.

Last week, 15 Republican senators — but not McCain — called on President Barack Obama to withdraw the nomination.

“I do not believe that Chuck Hagel, who is a friend of mine, is qualified to be secretary of defense,” McCain said Sunday. But he added, with a laugh, that he did not sign the letter because “I do believe that elections have consequences — unfortunately. And the president of the United States was re-elected.”

McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential election, said he believes that presidents deserve a Senate vote on their Cabinet nominees. In that election, Hagel offered tacit support for Obama.

McCain was less definitive about the immediate prospects for the confirmation of John Brennan, the White House counterterrorism adviser nominated by Obama to head the CIA. McCain and other Republicans are demanding more information from the White House as a price for allowing the nomination to go forward. In particular, they want more detail about the administration’s response to the terrorist attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, last Sept. 11 that left four Americans dead, including the U.S. ambassador.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Bills aim to improve English language instruction English language learners integrated into mainstream classrooms

    April 24, 2014

  • Allina drops celebrated birthing option MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Allina Health has pulled the drain plug on a celebrated birthing option at its 11 Minnesota hospitals and the Mother Baby Center in Minneapolis. Allina says it will no longer offer water births because of new guidance from the Ame

    April 24, 2014

  • Federal study finds mercury in trout caught in three Grand Canyon creeks PHOENIX — With their natural beauty and protected environments, the Grand Canyon and other national parks in the West would seem removed from having mercury in their streams and rivers. But a federal study found small levels of the contaminant in ra

    April 24, 2014

  • Post office sales fight grows SAN FRANCISCO — The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has issued a report to Congress that criticizes the U.S. Postal Service’s disposal of historic properties and calls for a suspension of all sales until a host of recommendations are implem

    April 24, 2014

  • Lawmakers jockey over budget surpluses WASHINGTON — Less than 24 hours after the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team beat cross-state rival Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray asked state lawmakers for $80 million to renovate Rupp Arena, the iconic bui

    April 23, 2014

  • Minn. lawmakers seek to enhance privacy protection ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota lawmakers are on the verge of cracking down on public employees who abuse their access to citizen data. A measure being negotiated in a House-Senate conference committee would do more to expose and punish data snoope

    April 23, 2014

  • Republican activists push party on gay marriage LAS VEGAS (AP) — As bans against gay marriage crumble and public opinion on the issue shifts rapidly, some Republicans are pushing the party to drop its opposition to same-sex unions, part of a broader campaign to get the GOP to appeal to younger vot

    April 23, 2014

  • mfp church abuse Archbishop deposition on abuse made public Archbishop John Nienstedt says no one reprimanded who handled abuse

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Legislature takes aim at new lottery games Legislators angry lottery didn't tell of new games

    April 22, 2014

  • NE ski resort extends season Lutsen still has two to four feet of snow on its runs

    April 22, 2014

Press-Plus Subscribe
Sign In
Featured Ads
AP Video