Republicans Have the Votes for Hagel Filibuster, Which They Refuse to Call a Filibuster

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 14 2013 12:49 PM

Republicans Have the Votes for Hagel Filibuster, Which They Refuse to Call a Filibuster

We knew most of this last night, but finally, today, Republicans are going on record to promise that they have—for now—41 votes against the cloture vote to move ahead Chuck Hagel's nomination. The best, least sensationalized take comes from Jon Karl.

And, as of right now, top Senate Democratic aides say they fear they don’t have the votes. Ultimately, it would seem that Hagel is a shoe-in: All 55 Senate Democrats support him and so do two Republicans (Sens. Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Thad Cochran of Mississippi). Three others have suggested they might oppose him but would not filibuster his nomination.

According to Republicans, there remain three camps of Hagel-delayers.

Team Cruz: Ted Cruz is determined to vote against cloture and the nomination, and has been working over fellow Republicans to join him, with great success. His newest advocate, James Inhofe, insists that Cabinet nominees should always need to cross a 60-vote barrier.

Team Blunt: The go-along-get-along Missouri Republican is one of several who doesn't want to set a precedent that Cabinet nominees need 60-vote margins to get confirmed. But for now, he's plying the line that a filibuster tomorrow would amount to a mere delay. They get more information, they vote.

Team McCain-Graham: All they want is more White House facts about Benghazi— specifically, a granular timeline of President Obama's actions that night.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 


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