Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was forced to file a cloture motion Wednesday to end Republican debate on the nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary.
“This is the first time in the history of our country that a presidential nominee for secretary of defense has been filibustered,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “What a shame. But that’s the way it is.”
Normally, a majority vote of the Senate is needed to approve a nomination. Now, with the cloture motion, a threshold of 60 votes is needed to end the filibuster, and NPR reported Democrats only have 57 votes at this time. The vote is scheduled for Friday.
According to NPR:
The Democrats who control the Senate have 55 votes they can count on, a number that includes the Senate’s two independents. And two Republicans have said they will vote for Hagel, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Thad Cochran of Mississippi. But that still leaves Reid three votes short of the 60 needed to end a filibuster. And it’s unclear where the other three votes come from.
Senate Republicans have many concerns over fellow Republican Hagel’s record on the Iraq war, Iran and Israel. Sens. Lindsay Graham and John McCain also refuse to move on with Hagel’s nomination until the White House provides more information on the events in Benghazi on Sept. 11.