U.S. Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon of Santa Clarita has come out against the confirmation of former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to become the next Secretary of Defense. McKeon, the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released a statement Thursday saying he does not believe that Hagel is the right man for the job.
“When President Obama nominated Senator Hagel to serve as Secretary of Defense, I was open – with reservations – to the possibility that Mr. Hagel possessed both the qualifications and abilities to meet the lofty demands of office,” said McKeon in a written statement. “Unfortunately, in confusing and contradictory testimony, he created more concerns than he allayed. His refusal to shut the door on further defense cuts put him at stark odds with the current Defense Secretary and military leaders. His ambiguous and evolving positions on Iran raised more questions than answers. And his shifting, evasive answers on the future of America’s nuclear deterrent were deeply troubling.”
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Hagel has come under intense criticism the day after he received a harsh grilling in his Senate confirmation hearing. Hagel bobbled and backtracked on several answers, and at points refused to give direct answers to pointed questions regarding his previous statements on the Iraq War surge of 2007 and the meaning of his comments about the pressure on congress brought by the pro-Israeli lobby. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) were particularly tough on Hagel for past comments he had made on issues of national defense policy.
Democratic support for Hagel seems to be holding solid, though, which means that he should have the votes to be confirmed unless Republicans in the Senate choose to filibuster of his nomination.
As a member of the House, McKeon does not get to vote on the Hagel nomination. But he joins Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and other influential Republicans in the House to come out on the record against the former senator’s confirmation to lead the Pentagon.
“It pains me to reach this conclusion, given Senator Hagel’s service in the armed forces and in the Senate; but at this vital time when our national security hangs in the balance, it is my opinion that Senator Hagel is unfit for the job of Secretary of Defense,” McKeon’s statement continued. “When it comes to the safety of this nation, the security of our troops, and the well-being of the American people, we can and must do better. I urge President Obama to submit a viable nominee as soon as possible.”
- McKeon Opposes Hagel Pick To Head Pentagon
- Source: Santa Clarita News
- Kevin Kelton
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