WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement after a Senate vote on cloture for the nomination of Chuck Hagel to Secretary of Defense failed 40 to 58:
“Today’s vote in the Senate is a clear indication that there are serious concerns about Sen. Hagel being our next Secretary of Defense,” said Inhofe. “I knew from the onset I would oppose Sen. Hagel’s nomination and have clearly expressed my concerns for his record on nuclear disarmament, Iran, defense spending and comments on Israel, to name a few. Additionally, some of my colleagues voted today for more time to receive requested information from Hagel, and I support their decision. It is imperative that Senators be absolutely confident in their votes for such a critical post that shapes our national security and global leadership.
"Sen. Reid can continue to claim the 60-vote threshold is unprecedented and use the word ‘filibuster,’ but he is wrong. I have always sought a unanimous consent agreement for a 60-vote threshold for the Hagel confirmation, a request rooted in recent Senate precedent. The last two controversial Cabinet-level nomination required a 60 vote threshold. Specifically, the 2009 nomination of Kathleen Sebelius to Secretary of Health and Human Services as well as the 2011 nomination of John Bryson to be Secretary of Commerce. In addition, the Democrats insisted on cloture votes for President Bush nominee's Dirk Kempthorne and Steven Johnson. It is important to remember we are confirming an individual to lead the Pentagon and we must be absolutely sure of the individual’s intentions and motivations. It should not be too much to ask for a supermajority when confirming a controversial nominee to be Secretary of Defense during a perilous time for the future of our military and the fight against terrorism.”