Former Nebraska United States Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination as Secretary of Defense has hit a snag.
Sen. Mike Johanns confirmed his support of Hagel as the next Defense Secretary during a conference call with Nebraska reporters prior to the vote in the Senate.
“I will vote to move forward to move to a majority vote on Chuck Hagel and I’ll be happy to support him and I’ve indicated that,” Johanns stated.
Johanns, though, is in the minority in the minority party of the United States Senate. Only four Republicans joined with Democrats to cut off debate and move to a confirmation vote on Hagel. The 58-40 vote fell two shy of the total needed for cloture, a procedural move that ends debate and forces a vote.
Johanns said that numerous past statements and the failure to clarify positions during hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee have forced Hagel to work for every single vote.
Some issues have nothing to do with Hagel. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) has demanded more information from the Obama Administration on the reaction of President Obama to the attacks on a United States compound in Benghazi, Libya last year before he allows Hagel’s nomination to move forward.
The Nebraska delegation is split.
While Johanns supports his former colleague, Sen. Deb Fischer opposes him.
Fischer joined with other Republicans in blocking a confirmation vote. She has stated that past positions articulated by Hagel concern her and his testimony before the committee, which she serves on, did nothing to alleviate those concerns.
Though Fischer says she will vote against him, she believes Hagel eventually will win confirmation.
“If we don’t see any new information come out that would possibly derail the confirmation, yes, I think Sen. Hagel will be confirmed,” Fischer told Kevin Thomas on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN’s Drive Time Lincoln.
Another vote has been scheduled for when the Senate returns from its break.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]