Senate Republicans made history earlier this month by successfully filibustering a president’s Defense Secretary nominee for the first time in U.S. history.
But a number of Republicans who voted to uphold the filibuster — including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) — joined Democrats in breaking the filibuster on Tuesday. Overall, 18 Republicans voted for cloture, which ultimately passed by a vote of 71-27.
The neocons, later joined by Senate Republicans, spent two-and-a-half months trying to prevent Hagel’s nomination and eventual confirmation, mostly by promoting false claims and smears that Hagel is an anti-Semite, anti-Israel and pro-Iran, all of which with either debunked or lacked credibility to stick. Hagel’s detractors then turned to a kitchen-sink strategy by distorting his record and making wild claims, for example that Hagel accepted money from America’s enemies and that the former Republican senator has ties to, as it turns out, non-existant terror groups.
According to Senate rules, a final up-or-down vote on Hagel’s nomination will take place no later than 30 hours from today’s cloture vote. Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) said today that he hopes the vote will take place later on this afternoon.