(Washington, DC) -- Republicans are blocking the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary. A procedural vote to move Hagel to a full confirmation vote failed as a 60-vote threshold was not met. The vote was 58-40.
Republicans argued that more time is needed to deliberate the Hagel nomination. Arizona's John McCain said a full confirmation vote should not be held until after the Senate's Presidents' Day recess next week. Republican Hagel is a former Nebraska senator and a decorated Vietnam War veteran.
Republicans have challenged Hagel's commitment to Israel's security and question some of his past votes and statements on Iraq, Iran and nuclear policy.
Democrats call Hagel eminently qualified to lead the Defense Department. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid accused Republicans of playing political games and needlessly delaying a Hagel confirmation vote.
The Nevada Democrat said the delay amounts to "one stall after another."