Senators still negotiating Hagel floor vote

Democratic and Republican senators are still negotiating over the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, pushing the start of floor debate mostly likely into this afternoon with a vote to come on Thursday. “It’s not set yet,” a spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) tells the E-Ring, this hour. “We’re still ...

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Democratic and Republican senators are still negotiating over the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, pushing the start of floor debate mostly likely into this afternoon with a vote to come on Thursday.

“It's not set yet,” a spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) tells the E-Ring, this hour. “We're still going back and forth with [Republicans]. Most likely scenario is still debate this afternoon with a vote tomorrow, but we still can't say for sure.”

Reid said Wednesday morning that he wanted to start debate today. The Pentagon badly wants a vote this week, in order to get Hagel confirmed in time to travel to next week’s meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. There, Pentagon officials expect European and Afghan officials will press the SecDef to discuss details of the president’s plan to drawdown troops in Afghanistan by half, as announced in last night’s State of the Union Address.

Democratic and Republican senators are still negotiating over the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense, pushing the start of floor debate mostly likely into this afternoon with a vote to come on Thursday.

“It’s not set yet,” a spokesman for Majority Leader Harry Reid (R-NV) tells the E-Ring, this hour. “We’re still going back and forth with [Republicans]. Most likely scenario is still debate this afternoon with a vote tomorrow, but we still can’t say for sure.”

Reid said Wednesday morning that he wanted to start debate today. The Pentagon badly wants a vote this week, in order to get Hagel confirmed in time to travel to next week’s meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels. There, Pentagon officials expect European and Afghan officials will press the SecDef to discuss details of the president’s plan to drawdown troops in Afghanistan by half, as announced in last night’s State of the Union Address.

But by lunch Senate leaders were still talking it out, while others come to the floor to give reaction speeches to Obama’s speech.

Kevin Baron is a national security reporter for Foreign Policy, covering defense and military issues in Washington. He is also vice president of the Pentagon Press Association. Baron previously was a national security staff writer for National Journal, covering the "business of war." Prior to that, Baron worked in the resident daily Pentagon press corps as a reporter/photographer for Stars and Stripes. For three years with Stripes, Baron covered the building and traveled overseas extensively with the secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, covering official visits to Afghanistan and Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, China, Japan and South Korea, in more than a dozen countries. From 2004 to 2009, Baron was the Boston Globe Washington bureau's investigative projects reporter, covering defense, international affairs, lobbying and other issues. Before that, he muckraked at the Center for Public Integrity. Baron has reported on assignment from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and the South Pacific. He was won two Polk Awards, among other honors. He has a B.A. in international studies from the University of Richmond and M.A. in media and public affairs from George Washington University. Originally from Orlando, Fla., Baron has lived in the Washington area since 1998 and currently resides in Northern Virginia with his wife, three sons, and the family dog, The Edge. Twitter: @FPBaron

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