Former Nebraska United States Senator Chuck Hagel won the approval of the Senate Armed Services Committee as the next Secretary of Defense, though he lost the vote of current Nebraska United States Senator Deb Fischer.
The Armed Services Committee has recommended the full Senate confirm Hagel as President Barack Obama’s next Secretary of Defense, replacing Leon Panetta.
The committee split along party lines, approving Hagel 14-to-11.
Hagel is a Republican, yet his opinions over the past few years have veered far from Republican orthodoxy never more evident than in Fischer’s vote against Hagel.
Fischer, a Republican, told committee members during the two hour meeting today that she had carefully reviewed Hagel’s record and had met with him personally.
“Ultimately, while I respect his military service, I do not believe he is the right choice for this job,” Fischer stated.
Fischer expressed concern by a Hagel’s record on a number of important topics.
“And his testimony before this committee did nothing to clarify those questions,” she stated.
Fischer agreed with the conclusion of several Armed Service Committee members that this is a very dangerous moment for the country with the nuclear ambitions of Iran, the belligerence of North Korea and the growing military threat of China.
“I do not believe he will chart the right course for our country and the effect of his decisions on these topics will last for decades,” Fischer concluded.
Hagel’s nomination could come before the full Senate as early as tomorrow, but more likely will come to the floor of the Senate Thursday.
Though Fischer opposes Hagel, Sen. Mike Johanns has said he will vote for confirmation.
AUDIO: Sen. Deb Fischer’s statement during Armed Services Committee vote on Sen. Hagel. [1:30]