Local Senators Discuss Hagel Nomination
Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is under fire, as he waits to become U.S. Secretary of Defense. The confirmation hearing has ended, but the senate panel has not yet voted to send it to the full senate. On Thursday, Hagel addressed issues including not being tough enough on Iran and not supporting Israel.
"I'm on the record many times in speeches and on the floor of the senate, and the book I wrote in 2008 as saying, Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism," Hagel explained.
He'd be the only Republican on President Obama's cabinet. But the majority of his criticism has come from the people of his own party including Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer.
"Despite these recent claims to the contrary, you continue to hold I believe extreme views far to the left even of this administration," Sen. Fischer said Thursday.
Senator Mike Johanns doesn't sit on the armed services committee but followed the hearings, and says he's going to review everything before making a decision on the vote for Hagel's confirmation.
“There wasn't anything there that I thought was a big blockbuster moment necessarily. No surprises there at all,” Sen. Johanns described. "I think on a few things I would say his views were pretty dramatic, but having said that yesterday again I think what chuck was trying to do was to camp that down, and get his feet reestablished on the ground so that he could move forward."
Friday, Senator Fischer's office told KMTV Action 3 News she's giving the vote consideration. Neither she nor Johanns has said which way they'll vote.
One local Senator who will be voting for Hagel as the next U.S. Secretary of Defense is Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat.
“I’ve always had a high regard for Chuck Hagel. I see no reason why he shouldn’t become the next secretary of defense. It would be nice to have someone as secretary of defense who actually served, got wounded, was on the front lines in the foxholes, in the dirt, in the mud with troops. Hopefully with the new rules he won’t be filibustered,” Sen. Harkin said.
The vote to decide if Chuck Hagel will be the next U.S. Secretary of Defense could come as early as February 7th.