Senate panel begins hearing leading up to Hagel vote

Chuck Hagel
Posted at 6:08 PM, Feb 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-12 13:24:22-05

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Armed Services Committee has begun a hearing that is expected to culminate in a vote on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary.

He's facing fierce opposition from his fellow Republicans who have challenged his past statements and votes on Israel, Iran, Iraq and nuclear weapons.

Just hours before today's hearing, his opponents circulated a memo arguing for more information about Hagel's personal finances. The memo highlighted past statements by Democratic senators demanding further disclosures when the Senate considered nominees from Republican presidents.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing for a full Senate vote later this week. If Hagel is approved in committee, as expected, he faces Republican delaying tactics in the full Senate.

Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, is President Barack Obama's choice to succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is stepping down after four years as CIA director and Pentagon chief.