Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, Santa Clarita’s congressional representative serving the twenty-fifth district, issued a statement today commenting on President Barack Obama’s nomination of former senator Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.
“The responsibilities of the Secretary of Defense are as heavy as they are sacred,” said the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. “Our nation’s security and the well-being of our troops demand the most serious national security professional at the helm. If confirmed, it is my sincere hope that Senator Hagel values and honors the longstanding relationship between Congress and the Pentagon.
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The Hagel nomination has come under fire from congressional Republicans because of previous comments made by the former Nebraska senator that some interpret as being anti-Israel and anti-gay. Sen. John McCain (R, AZ) said, “I have serious concerns about positions Senator Hagel has taken on a range of critical national security issues in recent years.”
Several of Hagel’s former senate colleagues are threatening to derail the nomination, due to Hagel’s early opposition to the war in Iraq, his senate votes against sanctions on Iran, and previous remarks Hagel made about North Korea, israel and Hamas. Log Cabin Republicans are lining up against Hagel for his support of the Defense of Marriage Act and his opposition to the 2010 repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that kept gays from openly serving in the U.S. military. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R, GA) called Obama’s choice to lead the Pentagon an “in your face nomination.”
McKeon’s statement hit a more measured tone, avoiding direct criticism of Hagel. “I wish him luck as he endeavors to match the important burden required by the office of Secretary,” the statement concluded.