Growing unease about Chuck Hagel as Pentagon chief could lead Republicans to force the nomination to clear a 60-vote threshold on the Senate floor, lawmakers said Tuesday.
One of Hagel's most vocal opponents, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he was sending a letter to the White House Tuesday, asking President Obama, “Did you make any phone calls to the Libyan government requesting their assistance” during the Benghazi attack.
“If he’ll answer that question, then I’m ready to move forward on Hagel,” Graham told National Journal. “My goal is not to block Hagel forever. My goal is to get a simple question answered,” Graham said.
“The White House has been very arrogant,” he added. “And this is one tool available to us in a minority party to get answers to basic questions.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee is expected to approve Hagel’s nomination as secretary of Defense on party lines in a vote scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. But it remains unclear whether and for how long Republicans will drag out the vote on the Senate floor by requiring procedural hurdles like cloture, which would require a 60-vote threshold to proceed.