Hagel Vote Delayed
The Senate Armed Services Committee has postponed its confirmation vote on former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department for a week, officials announced Wednesday.
Hagel’s nomination has been targeted since it was first rumored President Obama might name him for Defense Secretary, primarily because of previous statements he has made about the “Jewish lobby.” The former Republican has also been brought to task for comments he has made about gays, for which he has apologized.
A strenuous grilling during last Thursday’s confirmation hearing saw Hagel stumbling over policy issues and backtracking on statements he has made. Key senators were left unimpressed and uncertain of backing him after his performance, leaving Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe, a major opponent to Hagel’s nomination, able to declare it was still too early to declare him Defense Secretary.
On Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) distributed a letter to his Republican colleagues calling for Hagel’s nomination to be delayed until he answered questions about his financial ties. The letter has garnered at least two dozen signatures by Wednesday, including those from every GOP member of the SASC.
Hagel has said he cannot provide information about the corporate and non-profit entities he was worked with since leaving the Senate in 2009 because they confidential and not his to disclose.
“My obligations do not permit me to disclose non-public information,” Hagel wrote in a letter explaining his position to Sen. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.).
One official working on Hagel’s confirmation maintained Hagel has fully met his obligations to provide SASC detailed financial information as well as details pertaining to his multiple speaking engagements over the years.
“Sen. Hagel has conducted an exhaustive search for all of his speaking engagements over the past five years, as the committee requested,” the source told the Free Beacon. “He has provided all available prepared texts and transcripts from those speeches to the committee.”
“There are some speeches Sen. Hagel gave for which there were no prepared remarks and no transcripts,” the source added. “A list of those speeches has also been provided to the committee.”
Hagel has conferred with Defense Department lawyers “to ensure he is in compliance with all applicable ethics laws and regulations,” the source said.