“In the history of the Senate, no cabinet nominee of the president has been denied his or her seat because of filibuster,” said Alexander, who added he is withholding judgment until he meets with Hagel.
No senator has threatened an outright filibuster, but opposition to Hagel’s nomination remains high in the days following his Jan. 31 confirmation hearing. On Tuesday, South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called on President Barack Obama to “reconsider” Hagel’s nomination amid concerns that he had been too soft on Iran.
“Chuck Hagel is a good man, but these are dangerous times,” he said in a written statement. “What kind of signal are we sending to the Iranians when our nominee for secretary of Defense seems clueless about what our policy is?”
The consensus among leadership aides is that if a filibuster does happen, it likely will be staged by a junior member.
One possibility is freshman Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who made clear at the hearing last week that he expects Hagel to provide the committee with additional transcripts from speeches, as well as more detailed financial disclosures. Cruz would not comment Monday night.
Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah is another possibility to block Hagel’s nomination, a GOP aide said. A Lee spokeswoman said Tuesday that the senator has not decided whether he plans to try to block the vote on Hagel.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters following a vote in the Senate. Gillibrand’s proposal to remove military commanders from the process of reviewing sexual-assault cases was left out of the bicameral deal on the defense authorization bill, but the senator is pushing for a vote on her plan soon.
Each year since 1990, CQ Roll Call has reviewed the financial disclosures of all 541 senators, representatives and delegates to determine the 50 richest members of Congress. This year's report, derived from forms covering the calendar year 2012, shows it took a net worth of $6.67 million to crack the exclusive club.