Senate Votes To Clear Hagel For Confirmation Vote

Source: Tom Vanden Brook / USA Today

WASHINGTON — Senators voted to end debate today on President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the secretary of Defense. He now faces a formal vote on confirmation.

The vote was 71-27 to end debate and send the nomination to the Senate for a full vote, which could come as early as Tuesday afternoon.

Hagel’s confirmation seems virtually assured, as Democrats control the Senate and none has said publicly they oppose him.

Hagel, if approved, will succeed Leon Panetta and immediately inherit a budget crisis. Last week, the Pentagon announced that it plans to furlough the majority of its 800,000 civilian employees to help meet a $46 billion shortfall caused by automatic spending cuts that begin March 1 and its stop-gap budget that prevents shifting funds to urgent needs.

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