Senate to vote on moving ahead on Hagel nod

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Hagel’s halting and inconsistent performance during some eight hours of testimony at this confirmation hearing last month undercut his cause, but it wasn’t a fatal blow.

There was no erosion in Democratic support for the president’s choice and Hagel had the backing of three Republicans — Sens. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Richard Shelby of Alabama. Other Republicans were reluctant to block a president’s Cabinet choice from getting an up-or-down vote, fearing the precedent.

Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate, more than enough to confirm Hagel on a majority vote.

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