WASHINGTON — Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., says he would join Republican colleagues in a rare filibuster of a cabinet-level nominee as they potentially seek to block the confirmation of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel as head the Defense Department.
Republicans are consider a filibuster to temporarily hold up a vote on President Obama’s nominee to replace
outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta over concerns about his income sources and post-Senate speeches.
Hagel’s nomination cleared the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday in a 14-11 vote along party lines.
Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Wednesday moved to end a potential filibuster. A vote is set for Friday.
Republican opposition to Hagel, a Republican and decorated Vietnam War veteran, has focused largely on his opposition to the Iraq War and concerns that he would not fully support Israel.
Boozman said this week that he would vote against Hagel.
“He has too much baggage for one of the most important positions we have,” Boozman said.
Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, has threatened a filibuster that would require a 60-vote majority to overcome.
Republicans on the committee said they want more answers from Hagel over speeches that he has made since leaving office and his income.
The Senate has filibustered a vote to confirm a cabinet-level nominee twice since 1917.
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., said he would support Hagel barring any last-minute revelations that would change his view.
“I’m not seeing or hearing anything that would want me to vote no,” Pryor said.