to Dodge Hagel Filibuster
The Washington Times
Democrats lack the votes -- at least for now -- to move forward on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be the next defense secretary, leaving President Obama's pick in limbo.
A top Democrat aide said they have been told there are not enough votes to overcome a GOP filibuster.
On Thursday morning Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), said Mr. Panetta was leaving his post at noon that day, meaning the country would be without a defense secretary.
"In less than two hours, our country will be without a secretary of defense at a time when we have a war going on in Afghanistan, there are about 70,000 troops there, we have a nuclear weapon that was detonated in North Korea a few days ago," Mr. Reid said.
But Foreign Policy magazine reported that the Pentagon said Mr. Panetta will remain on the job until a new secretary is confirmed, undercutting Mr. Reid's push for action.
President Obama nominated Mr. Hagel, a former Republican senator, saying he would be an independent voice at the Pentagon. But Mr. Hagel's former Republican colleagues have said they'll block his nomination in order to try to force the administration to produce more information.
Defense secretaries are usually confirmed without trouble -- and often by voice vote. But in Mr. Hagel's case, some of his past statements and votes with respect to Israel and Iran have troubled Republicans.
Still others in the GOP said they are using his nomination to try to pry more information from the White House on the events surrounding the terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last year.
Using nominations as a lever is not unusual, but doing that with the top Pentagon post is.
"Chuck Hagel had nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi," Mr. Reid said on the Senate floor Thursday morning.
Only two Republicans have publicly said they will support Mr. Hagel while another has said she will vote against him but would not join a filibuster.
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 02/14/2013
Editor's Note: And now we're about to see that the Pentagon can -- and will -- function just fine without a political mouthpiece, sycophant figurehead...
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