Chuck Hagel’s Magic Number: Three

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Three United States senators. Securing their collective support is all that stands between Chuck Hagel, President Obama’s pick to be defense secretary, and confirmation.

To kill the threat of a nomination-killing filibuster on the Senate floor, Hagel needs 60 votes. There are 55 Democrats in the chamber, meaning he needs five GOP senators to support him.

Republican Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mike Johanns of Hagel’s own Nebraska say they will vote “yay.” That means Hagel’s magic number, to borrow a baseball term, is three.

Though it remains unclear whether any GOP member will launch a serious filibuster try, the upper chamber’s top Republican isn’t ruling it out.

“Senator Hagel did not do a very good job before the Armed Services Committee this week,” Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told local reporters on Saturday. “I think the opposition to him is intensifying. Whether that means he will end up having to achieve 60 votes or 51 is not clear yet.”

(Video courtesy CN2)

John T. Bennett

John T. Bennett

Bennett is the Editor of Defense News' CongressWatch channel. He has a Masters degree in Global Security Studies from Johns Hopkins University.
John T. Bennett