In Major Boost, Schumer Backs Hagel Confirmation

Source: Brian Montopoli / CBS News

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., the third-ranking Democrat in the Senate and a close ally of pro-Israel advocacy groups, today announced that he would back Chuck Hagel’s nomination for defense secretary.

Schumer’s decision is a major boost for Hagel, who has come under criticism from pro-Israel groups concerned by his comments on Israel, including a past reference to a “Jewish lobby,” and suggestion that he would not support a military strike to keep Iran from a nuclear weapon. Hagel is a former Republican senator whose nomination was greeted with skepticism on both sides of the aisle, and he is in the process of meeting with senators in an effort to persuade them to vote to confirm him.

“Based on several key assurances provided by Senator Hagel, I am currently prepared to vote for his confirmation,” Schumer said today. “I encourage my Senate colleagues who have shared my previous concerns to also support him.”

Schumer and Hagel met for 90 minutes Monday afternoon at the White House, and Schumer phoned Hagel this morning to inform him of his decision, according to a Senate aide.

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