U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) released the following statement regarding today's vote on Senator Chuck Hagel's nomination for Secretary of Defense:
"During his confirmation hearing, Senator Hagel instinctively called the Iranian government both elected and legitimate. He initially offered strong support for containment of Iran, rather than President Obama's stated policy of preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon. He could not clearly explain his past opposition to unilateral sanctions against Iran -- opposition as recent as 2008. And at no time did he state his position on whether the European Union should formally designate Iran's terror proxy, Hezbollah, as a terrorist organization -- a group responsible for the murders of some 280 American citizens, including eight from Illinois.
"I appreciate and respect Senator Hagel's record of service to our country, especially as a decorated combat veteran. However, based on Senator Hagel's testimony, on top of my existing concerns regarding his past statements and votes, I cannot support his nomination."