Senate Republicans in a 58-40 vote today blocked former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-Neb.) nomination as Defense secretary from proceeding to a final up-or-down vote.
Four Republicans – Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mike Johanns (Neb.) joined 55 Democrats and Independents in supporting the nomination. Sixty votes were needed to cut off debate, leaving Democrats one vote short.
The final 58-40 tally reflected a no vote from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who switched his vote from yes to preserve his ability to bring up the nomination again.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted present and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) missed the vote.
Republicans said it was too early to clear Hagel’s nomination, but that they would consider allowing an up-or-down vote after the Senate returns to business on Feb. 25.
They blamed Democrats for rushing the vote and the White House for not providing additional information about Hagel’s compensation for paid speeches.
Reid scolded Republicans for holding up Hagel, saying it was the first filibuster of a Defense nominee in history.
Hagel seems likely to win confirmation eventually despite Thursday’s vote, but the delay highlighted the contentiousness of his nomination.
Read more: THE HILL