Republicans have, for now, blocked Chuck Hagel's nomination to become defense secretary.
The Senate came up two votes short of the 60 needed to move Hagel's nomination forward as lawmakers prepare to leave town for a week's break. Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate.
Republicans had been blocking the confirmation of their former colleague and Vietnam veteran until they received information from the White House on President Barack Obama's actions during the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
The White House responded to that request earlier Thursday, saying Obama spoke with Libyans a day after the attack. (AP)
Nevada Senator Harry Reid released the following statement:
"In a time of war and threats to Americans at home and abroad, Senate Republicans are waging the first-ever filibuster of a Defense Secretary nominee. Despite unprecedented responsiveness and transparency from the White House, Republicans have constantly invented new pretexts for opposing Senator Hagel's nomination, and Republicans continued their embarrassing display of disregard for our national security by blocking Senator Hagel's nomination today.
"Watching Republicans with otherwise distinguished records on national security place their desire to please the Tea Party ahead of doing the right thing for our troops is one of the saddest spectacles I have witnessed in my twenty-seven years in the Senate.
"Senator Hagel is a decorated war veteran, an expert on national security issues and the right man to lead the Pentagon in these troubling times. Democrats will continue to fight for Senator Hagel, and we will reconsider his nomination in the coming days. Some Republican senators have said that they will change their votes, and allow his nomination to proceed at some point in the future. I will take them at their word, and I will hold them to their pledge."
Saturday, May 25 2013 2:16 AM EDT2013-05-25 06:16:04 GMT
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