Before he can become secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel must win Senate support. For Hagel, the former two-term GOP senator from Nebraska, that will be no easy task. Hagel has already received a 14-11 majority vote in the Senate Committee on Armed Services, where his confirmation battle began, but still must be confirmed by the larger Senate.
Below, we examine how all 26 members of the committee voted (or, in one case, didn't vote) on Hagel's nomination, with text or video to explain their reasoning.
Jack Reed, D-R.I.ON "WSJ LIVE"
Bill Nelson, D-Fla.STATEMENT: "Chuck Hagel is a personal
friend, a solid former U.S. senator and a dedicated public servant and patriot."
Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.STATEMENT: "Based on [our] conversation, I intend to support Chuck Hagel's nomination. Chuck is a combat veteran and foot soldier who has a unique understanding of the challenges faced by our men and women in uniform, and a practical leader who understands the need for common sense in military spending and national security strategy."
Kay Hagan, D-N.C.STATEMENT: "After several weeks of reviewing his qualifications, meeting with him in private, and participating in his hearing, I plan to support the nomination of Senator Hagel to become our country's next Secretary of Defense. During the hearing and in our meeting, Senator Hagel assured me that he would be a helpful partner in getting answers about water contamination at Camp Lejeune. He also expressed his strong support for the state of Israel, one of our most important allies, and he shared my concerns about the serious, negative consequences sequestration would have on North Carolina. As that deadline approaches, I will continue working to stop those cuts that would be harmful to our state's economy and our military strength."
Mark Udall, D-Colo.STATEMENT: "Sen. Hagel showed me today and throughout his confirmation process that he understands the issues facing the U.S. military, and that he agrees we need to pursue a smart, but tough national security policy. I believe he will stand with Israel and our allies, take every necessary step to prevent a nuclear Iran, treat all service members equally regardless of their sexual orientation and strengthen our cybersecurity. Without question, Chuck Hagel will bring his remarkable experience as both a combat veteran and an outspoken Senate leader to the Pentagon. I intend to support Sen. Hagel's confirmation as our country's next Secretary of Defense."
Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H.STATEMENT: "It is obvious that Senator Hagel thoroughly understands the complexity of the modern security environment. I was pleased with his strong, unwavering support of Israel, his steadfast opposition to Iran's nuclear weapons program and his commitment to building relationships with our allies including NATO."
Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.ON THE U.S. SENATE FLOOR
Carl Levin, R-Mich.Chairman, Senate Committee on Armed Services
ON SENATE FLOOR: "No nomination for the position of Secretary of Defense has ever before been filibustered. This filibuster breaks new ground. The filibuster of a nomination for Secretary of Defense is the first one under any circumstances, and it is unwise. The Department is facing a budget crisis that was described as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. So a filibuster at this time of a budget crisis is exceptionally ill-advised. Leaving the Department of Defense leaderless at a time when we are in an Afghan conflict, when North Korea has just exploded a nuclear device is exceptionally ill-advised. And perhaps most important, having a Department of Defense that does not have a new Secretary confirmed is unfair to the men and women in uniform. It sends them exactly the wrong message, as it does to our friends and our adversaries around the world."
Mazie Hirono, D-HawaiiTWITTER: "Sen. Hagel reaffirmed the strategic importance of #Hawaii in our national security. I look forward to working with him."
Angus King, I-MaineAP INTERVIEW: "I start with a presumption that the president should be able to appoint his own people to his Cabinet. So unless there's some strong disqualifying element or quality to the nominee, I start with that positive presumption."
Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.STATEMENT: "Senator Hagel gave me his clear and direct commitment to advancing issues of equality and fairness in our armed forces – from fully implementing the repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” to providing full benefits to families of LGBT servicemembers, ensuring that women servicemembers have access to the full range of reproductive care, cracking down on sexual abuse in the military, stopping hazing, and implementing the opening of full combat roles to female servicemembers."
Tim Kaine, D-Va.STATEMENT: "The endorsement of former Senator John Warner cannot be overstated. Senator Hagel gave detailed and direct answers to my questions about the future of our military, and I am pleased he agrees we must increase certainty for our men and women in uniform by going back to an orderly budgeting process."
Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.ON MSNBC'S "ANDREA MITCHELL REPORTS"
Joe Donnelly, D-Ind.STATEMENT: "While I do not agree with Senator Hagel on every issue, I am supporting Senator Hagel's nomination for secretary of defense because I believe he is qualified and capable to take on these challenges. Senator Hagel is supported by members of both parties, and it is not insignificant that Senator Hagel, by volunteering for combat service, has distinctive experience as it relates to the responsibilities of this job."
Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
WORLD-HERALD OP-ED: "I appreciate Chuck Hagel's service, both as an infantryman in Vietnam and as a United States senator representing Nebraska. However, after meeting with him privately and witnessing his confusing and contradictory testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, I cannot support his nomination."
Roger Wicker, R-Miss.STATEMENT: "The next defense
secretary will face a number of challenges on Day One, so we need the right person for the job. I am strongly opposed to the president's nomination of Sen. Hagel. It would be divisive and
distracting for Congress, the administration, and the American people."
"Sen. Hagel's record of opposing Iran sanctions is troubling. His views and positions on the Middle East and Israel are contrary to the administration's own stated policies, and there are concerns from members of both parties about this nomination."
"The president is choosing a fight rather than nominating a consensus pick. With sequestration's defense cuts averted for only two months, this will take attention away from very pressing problems. Secretary Panetta was approved unanimously by the Senate. The president would be wise to nominate someone else for this critical position."
Ted Cruz, R-TexasIN A USA TODAY OP-ED
"With bipartisan opposition to Hagel growing — NBC's Chuck Todd said Monday that 10 Senate Democrats might oppose Hagel's nomination, on top of numerous Republicans — the White House is picking an avoidable fight for political purposes by pushing this nominee. We can and should do better."
Jim Inhofe, R-Okla.
STATEMENT: "Chuck Hagel is a good person, and it was a pleasure to serve with him in the United States Senate. I am so very appreciative of the sacrifices he and his brother made to serve this country during the Vietnam War. We had a very cordial meeting today in which we discussed his nomination.
"Unfortunately, as I told him during our meeting today, we are simply too philosophically opposed on the issues for me to support his nomination.
"One of my biggest concerns is avoiding Obama's sequestration that, as Secretary Panetta has said, would be devastating to our military. However, Senator Hagel's comments have not demonstrated that same level of concern about the pending defense cuts.
"Senator Hagel has also been an outspoken supporter of nuclear disarmament and the Global Zero Movement. At a time when North Korea is threatening our allies with their nuclear capabilities and Iran continues to pursue a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it, the security of our own nation and that of our allies requires us to be vigilant with our own nuclear weapons and defense systems. This administration has already put us in a more vulnerable position by drastically cutting our nuclear defense budget and eliminating our Third Site missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic.
"On Iran and Israel, Senator Hagel's record concerns me as well. In 2000, he was one of just four senators who refused to sign a letter affirming U.S. solidarity with Israel. In 2001 he was one of just two Senators who voted against extending the sanctions against Iran. A year later, he urged the Bush administration to support Iranian membership in the World Trade Organization. Given the current tension in the Middle East that is largely being instigated by the Iranian regime, I am concerned with Senator Hagel's views.
"Although we are opposed on issues, we are still friends. This is one of those rare times when policy differences don't stand in the way of personal relationships."
Roy Blunt, R-Mo.VIA "THE DAILY RUNDOWN" ON MSNBC
Mike Lee, R-UtahTWITTER: "After disappointing hearing, unanswered questions [and] failure to comply with transparency requirements, I cannot support Hagel for [Secretary of Defense]."
Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.ON CNN'S "STATE OF THE UNION WITH CANDY CROWLEY"
John McCain, R-Ariz.Ranking member, Senate Committee on Armed Services
ON CNN'S "THE SITUATION ROOM WITH WOLF BLITZER"
Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.STATEMENT: "While I deeply respect Senator Hagel's brave service in Vietnam, I am concerned by several positions he took as a senator -- particularly his long-standing opposition to increased Iran sanctions and his views regarding Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as our close ally Israel."
Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.Sen. Chambliss has met with Hagel and voted against his nomination in commitee, but not yet released a statement concerning his nomination.
Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.Sen. Sessions has met with Hagel and voted against his nomination in commitee, but not yet released a statement concerning his nomination.
DID NOT VOTE
David Vitter, R-La.
STATEMENT: "I'll be a no vote on the Armed Services Committee and on the floor. Given Chuck Hagel's statements and actions on a nuclear Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, I think his confirmation would send exactly the
wrong message to our allies and enemies alike. Israel, our strongest ally in the region, is dealing with a lot of threat and uncertainty right now; Hagel would make that even worse."
Credits: Micah Mertes, Patrick Duprey, Joe Morton