Collins says she will oppose Hagel's confirmation

Associated Press
FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo, former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A bitterly divided Senate panel on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, voted to approve Hagel to be the nation's defense secretary at a time of turmoil for the military with looming budget cuts, a fresh sign of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
.

View photo

FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo, former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington. A bitterly divided Senate panel on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, voted to approve Hagel to be the nation's defense secretary at a time of turmoil for the military with looming budget cuts, a fresh sign of North Korea's nuclear ambitions and drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's top Democrat has set the stage for a full Senate vote by the end of the week on President Barack Obama's nomination of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a motion on Wednesday to limit debate and force a vote on Hagel's nomination. Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate and have the numbers to confirm Hagel on a majority vote. But they would need the support of five Republicans before an up-or-down vote on the president's pick to head the Defense Department would be allowed.

A divided Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday voted to approve Hagel by a 14-11 vote. All the panel's Democrats backed Hagel, while the committee's Republicans were unified in their opposition to him.

View Comments