Democrats said Wednesday they’ll delay votes on Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be secretary of defense after Republicans said they aren’t getting the information they need to make a judgment.
Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat, said he’d hoped to hold a vote in his panel on Mr. Hagel on Thursday, but said the “committee’s review of the nomination is not yet complete.”
Republicans raised objections earlier in the day after Mr. Hagel said he could not turn over documents related to some of the work he did for foreign clients after he left the Senate in 2009.
Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, told reporters his party would consider slowing down the process on the Senate floor if Democrats powered the nomination through committee without Mr. Hagel turning over more information.
Mr. Levin, the chairman, said he still hopes to have a committee vote “as soon as possible.”
Republicans are not happy with Mr. Hagel, and his performance at last week’s confirmation hearing before the committee was widely panned, but the threat of a filibuster had appeared to be receding in recent days.
It’s unlikely the questions about Mr. Hagel’s employers over the last four years would be enough to derail him — though those kinds of questions have been used in the past to halt nominees.
The most notable example was Miguel Estrada, a lawyer whom then-President George W. Bush had nominated to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, but was blocked by Democrats who said they needed to see closed records from his time as a Justice Department lawyer.