(WASHINGTON) — Add Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe to the list of Republicans who want to hold up the nomination of Chuck Hagel by the full Senate to become the next secretary of defense.
Inhofe, the ranking GOP member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, acknowledges that Hagel, President Obama’s pick to replace Leon Panetta, has enough votes to get approved by the panel when lawmakers make their decision on Tuesday.
However, Inhofe says he’s determined to drag out a vote by the full Senate for as long as possible, essentially forcing Democrats to make certain they have 60 votes to assure confirmation.
There are 53 Democrats, meaning the party needs to count on two independents and at least five Republicans so Hagel can become the next defense secretary.
Inhofe is angered by Hagel’s past stance on Israel, explaining, “Each day that goes by will make it more difficult for Democrats who say they are pro-Israel to hold out. I want everyone to be very clear about his past statements and his positions.”
Hagel insists he’s pro-Israel and contends his previous positions have been misunderstood.
Earlier this week, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said until he knows exactly how Obama acted immediately after the U.S consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked last Sept. 11, he will attempt to hold up confirmation votes on Hagel and John Brennan, the nominee for CIA director.
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