The U.S. Senate voted 71-27 to move forward the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense. U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., voted with the minority because Enzi said Hagel still has questions to answer.
"We know Mr. Hagel has flip-flopped on the Iraq war. We know he helped author a report that seeks to unilaterally eliminate nuclear weapons, including all land based missiles in Wyoming. However, it's what we don't know that caused me to vote against moving his nomination today," said Enzi. "There is no more important cabinet post than Secretary of Defense and any nominee should fully disclose information requested by Congress. Mr. Hagel has so far refused to provide all of the speeches he has delivered over the last few years and his Senate archive at the University of Nebraska-Omaha is sealed from journalists and Congressional investigators. He's dragged his feet on other requests. We haven't had full access to his record.
"Mr. Hagel gave a very poor performance at his confirmation hearing. He provided inaccurate and incoherent answers, changed his responses, and seemed at a loss for why he wanted to lead our military. President Obama has the right to nominate whoever he pleases, but I can't in good conscience vote for anyone I'm not sure is qualified and who can't or won't answer important questions. No Secretary of Defense has been confirmed with more than 11 opposing votes. The person who fills this critical office should not be controversial or divisive."
This afternoon's vote was a procedural vote to end debate on the Hagel nomination. It cleared the way for a final vote on the Hagel nomination, which is expected later today.