Blocking Hagel

By delaying a confirmation vote on Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary, Senate Republicans have forced Leon Panetta to remain on the job he is eager to give up. But they’ve also given the White House an opportunity to cast the GOP as obstructing President Barack Obama’s assembly of a second-term national security team. Senate Republicans temporarily blocked a Hagel confirmation vote on Thursday, insisting that the administration must first answer more questions about its handling of a terrorist attack last September on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, called it ‘political posturing.’ ‘Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse, it got worse,’ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said after the GOP forced the delay. The Senate action amounted to a parliamentary maneuver, with Democrats needing 60 votes for Hagel’s confirmation to move forward. It fell two votes short[of a filibuster”.

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