The U.S. Senate on Tuesday voted 71-27 to proceed with Chuck Hagel’s confirmation to be the next secretary of defense.
The vote ended a long debate over his controversial nomination and the unprecedented filibuster mounted by Republicans nearly two weeks ago. The matter now heads to the full Senate for a vote, with a final confirmation expected in coming days. He will need 51 votes to be confirmed.
There were calls from many Republicans for President Barack Obama to withdraw his nomination. Several GOP senators have argued that Hagel’s performance during his confirmation hearing was lackluster. Many also said they couldn’t agree with Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, because of his contrarian views on Iran and what they consider his anti-Israel comments.