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Springfield News-Leader: Blunt says he will support delaying vote on Hagel

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Deirdre Shesgreen
Sen. Roy Blunt said Wednesday that he will now support a GOP effort to delay a vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense.

If Democrats push for a vote to confirm Hagel this week, "I'll vote to postpone that," Blunt, R-Mo., said.

He noted that some GOP senators have asked Hagel for additional information and the nominee hasn't yet responded. "It's too quick to end the debate on this nominee, and he needs to provide more information," Blunt said.

The Missouri Republican said earlier this month that he would vote against Hagel but would not support a GOP filibuster of the nominee. Blunt said Wednesday he was not changing his position

"My view still is that I am reluctant to set a 60 vote standard to confirm Sen. Hagel," Blunt said, referring to the super majority needed to stop a filibuster. "But I'm for … having a debate and the time for Sen. Hagel to respond to the request for information."

GOP opponents have asked Hagel for some detailed financial information, beyond what executive branch nominees are required to provide. Senate Democrats appeared to be pushing for a vote this week.

But Blunt predicted that effort would fail and suggested that Hagel's nomination could face additional scrutiny and opposition.

"I don't think that nomination will be successfully approved this week," he said. Noting that the Senate is in recess next week, he added, "a lot can happen in 10 days" and that might include senators changing their minds about whether to support him.

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