WASHINGTON–Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) made an impassioned plea on Thursday afternoon from the Senate floor to support President Barack Obama’s nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) to be Defense Secretary, with a vote that could cripple his confirmation scheduled soon. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) has come out strongly against Hagel.
The vote Thursday is to block a GOP filibuster attempt–and as I write this it is not clear whether or not there are 60 votes for Hagel needed to nullify the threat. Democrats sit in 55 of the 100 Senate seats.
Durbin said from the floor that Hagel opponents want to make a “political stand” in order to “stop Chuck Hagel today. …This isn’t fair,” Durbin said. He said Hagel was a “good man who will do a good job.”
Kirk’s opposition is connected to Hagel’s views on sanctions against Iran; Kirk has led a drive for tougher sanctions in order to avoid Iran gaining nuclear capability.