McCain opposes Chuck Hagel filibuster

A sign that Hagel will likely be confirmed as Defense Secretary

By Jillian Rayfield

Published February 5, 2013 1:51PM (EST)

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he opposes a filibuster of Chuck Hagel's nomination for Defense Secretary, but will vote against Hagel's confirmation itself.

“I do not believe that we should filibuster,” he told Politico. “To vote against is entirely the judgment of each individual senator, but a filibuster I think would be inappropriate.” McCain added that he would vote for a cloture if the rest of his party initiated a filibuster.

Other Republicans also seemed wary of using the filibuster against Hagel, including Richard Burr, N.C., Susan Collins, Maine, Sen. Roy Blunt, Mo., Pat Roberts, R-Kan. and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

From Politico, the wariness about the filibuster likely means that Hagel will be confirmed:

The White House and Democratic leadership are already confident that a solid majority exists for the Hagel to be confirmed on a simple majority vote. McCain’s opposition to a filibuster should make it easier to get the 60 votes needed to invoke cloture.

Republican Sens. Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Thad Cochran of Mississippi have already announced they would support Hagel, meaning that Democrats appear to have at least 57 senators ready to support his nomination if they can keep their caucus united.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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Chuck Hagel Defense Secretary Filibuster John Mccain Senate