The top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday said his opposition to Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the next Pentagon chief has only grown in recent days, and he vowed to work hard to defeat his confirmation.
“I will do what I can to see that it fails,” James M. Inhofe of Oklahoma told reporters.
Inhofe, however, would not comment on whether he would support a filibuster of the nomination when it heads to the Senate floor.
Senate Armed Services Chairman Carl Levin had said he wanted the panel to vote on the confirmation as early as Thursday.
But late Wednesday, Levin said that vote would be delayed.
“The committee’s vote on Senator Hagel’s nomination has not been scheduled,” he said in a written statement. “I had hoped to hold a vote on the nomination this week, but the committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete. I intend to schedule a vote on the nomination as soon as possible.”
Republican senators said they are still waiting for Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, to provide more information on speeches he has given since leaving Capitol Hill in 2009. They want the committee to postpone the vote on Hagel until they have that information.
“So far, Sen. Hagel has refused to provide the information requested by the committee and I think that’s the chief obstacle right now,” Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn , R-Texas, said. “I don’t know any justification for his refusal to comply with reasonable information requests.”
Arizona Sen. John McCain, a senior member of the committee, said his staff is looking into whether the requests are “in keeping with the normal parameters of what nominees are supposed to provide or whether it exceeds that.”
But McCain, who is still undecided on Hagel’s nomination, added that the timing of the committee vote is ultimately up to Levin.
“The chairman of the committee can schedule a vote for whenever he wants,” McCain said. “The question is whether he wants to have the agreement of the minority or not.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.