Sen. Shaheen Says Delay On Defense Secretary 'Disappointing'

Feb 15, 2013

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen meets with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Concord on Friday.
Credit Michael Brindley, NHPR

New Hampshire U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen says delaying former senator Chuck Hagel’s appointment as Secretary of Defense has real national security implications.

Shaheen believes Hagel will ultimately be confirmed as the next defense secretary, but not until after the Senate returns from its break a week from Monday.

But she says delays to the process by her Republican colleagues do not serve the country well.

“This is only the third time we’ve seen the Senate filibuster a nominee at this level in government. Given all of the national security challenges we have right now, it’s very disappointing.”

A vote this week to confirm Hagel fell just shy of the 60 needed to override a filibuster.

Republicans insist this is not a filibuster, but an opportunity to have more time to get their questions answered regarding Hagel’s past statements.

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte has been one of Hagel’s harshest critics. She was not available for comment on Friday.

Ayotte Spokeswoman Liz Johnson released a statement regarding Hagel's confirmation on Friday, saying, "Senator Hagel's nomination came out of the Armed Services Committee late Tuesday afternoon, and senators who are not on the committee-who have not followed his nomination as closely as Senator Ayotte-need some time to analyze his record. 

"Also, several senators await additional information from Senator Hagel, and this vote provides additional time for it to be produced.  She fully expects that when the Senate returns after next week's recess, there will be a vote on his nomination."