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Feb 21, 2013 Comments Off littlebytes

Excerpted Yahoo News:

Republican Chuck Hagel testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Jan. 31, 2103. (J. Scott Applew

The White House on Thursday afternoon flatly rejected a request made earlier in the day by 15 Republican senators to withdraw Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary.

“This waste of time is not just meaningless political posturing—because we firmly believe that Sen. Hagel will be confirmed—but the waste of time is of consequence,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said during Thursday’s briefing. His comments came in response to a question about the Republicans’ letter.

Carney added that Hagel, a Republican former Nebraska senator and two-time Purple Heart recipient, also received a huge boost on Thursday when Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama announced his support for Hagel’s nomination.

“He’s probably as good as we’re going to get,” Shelby told the Decatur Daily of Hagel, who now appears to have the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster—barring some last-minute surprise.

Carney also said at Thursday’s briefing that several Republican senators over the weekend had voiced support during TV interviews for an up-or-down vote on Hagel, and that Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah had come out against a Republican filibuster.

“A clear majority in the U.S. Senate supports Sen. Hagel’s confirmation, so today’s actions … run against both the majority will of the Senate and against our national interest,” Carney said.

Carney stressed the pressing need for a new defense secretary, noting the 66,000 American troops currently in Afghanistan and this week’s meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

The White House last week denounced Senate Republicans’ unprecedented filibuster of the Hagel nomination (no Cabinet-level post dealing with national security had ever before faced a successful one). In the Republicans’ letter on Thursday, the lawmakers argued in effect that this was Hagel’s own fault.

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