The Senate approves former Sen. Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary after weeks of Republican opposition. Hagel emerges politically weaker as he prepares to fight pending budget cuts.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File
Following weeks of bitter partisan fighting over Mr. Hagel’s nomination for the Pentagon post, he won Senate confirmation with surprising ease, passing a key Tuesday cloture vote by 71 to 27. Among those voting “yea” were Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona – two lawmakers who’d battered Hagel, a former GOP senator from Nebraska, over his past statements on Israel, Iran, Libya, and various other national security issues.
The final vote on Hagel's confirmation came Tuesday evening, with the Senate voting 58 to 41. Four Republicans backed Hagel, but Graham and McCain voted "no."