WASHINGTON — The Senate votes again today on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be defense secretary.
The former U.S. senator from Nebraska fell one vote short of advancing when the Senate voted almost two weeks ago, just before going on recess.
He needs 60 votes to clear a procedural hurdle before the Senate can vote on his actual nomination.
What to watch:
- Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb. — She opposes the nomination but supports giving him an up-or-down vote. Still, she voted against advancing his nomination before the recess, saying some senators were still trying to get questions answered. Fischer told The World-Herald on Monday she wasn't sure how she would vote today because she had yet to visit with her colleagues.
- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — The one-time Hagel ally reiterated Monday that he thinks Hagel is unqualified for the position and slammed his performance at the confirmation hearing. Still, he said he would support advancing the nomination to an up-or-down vote, which pretty much assures that Hagel will be confirmed this week.
- Final vote — Once confirmed, Hagel will have to work with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on an array of issues facing the Pentagon. The size of Republican opposition seen today will in part set the tone for his tenure.
Timeline of Chuck Hagel's political career
Spring 1971: Rep. John Y. McCollister (R-Neb.) hires Hagel in his D.C. office on $200 a week.
November 1996: After years in the private sector, Hagel defeats then-Gov. Ben Nelson to win a U.S. Senate seat.
November 2002: Hagel is re-elected to his Nebraska seat, garnering close to 83% of the vote.
September 2007: Hagel announces he'll retire following the conclusion of his second term and not seek the presidency in 2008.
October 2009: President Obama names Hagel a co-chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Council.
January 2013: Obama nominates Hagel, a Vietnam veteran, to succeed Leon Panetta as secretary of defense.