The Senate has voted, 58–41, Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, where he will lead the Pentagon. Hagel, former Republican senator from Nebraska, was nominated to be President Barack Obama’s defense secretary on Jan. 7.
It has not been an easy nomination—Republicans have criticized Hagel so much that they asked Obama to withdraw his nomination of Hagel. It marks the first time the Senate rejected the nomination of a U.S. defense secretary.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) cosigned a letter to Obama along with 13 other Republican lawmakers, opposing the nomination of Hagel as secretary of defense.
Rubio said in a televised interview on Jan. 31 that he thinks Hagel’s service to the country in Vietnam is something that he admires, but he also finds Hagel’s comments on Iran and North Korea disturbing.
“For those reasons, I just don’t believe I will be able to support his nomination,” Rubio said.
For two months, there was a delay in moving forward with Hagel’s nomination. On Feb. 26, the delay ended with two different voting events regarding Hagel’s nomination.
Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) wrote the letter, bringing the number to 15 Republican lawmakers that expressively did not want Hagel to become the defense secretary.
Hagel was blocked from a vote in the Senate in early February 2013 because of concerns about the Benghazi, Libya, attacks and because of his stance on Middle East issues.
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