Updated to add statement from Sen. Ted Cruz

Chuck Hagel’s nomination as defense secretary is moving forward. Several Republicans reversed their positions in a test vote today, clearing the way for confirmation.

The former Republican Senator has faced a rocky road so far, with the GOP forcing a filibuster and extending the debate earlier this month. Republicans have been highly critical of President Obama’s choice, accusing Hagel of being unfit to lead the U.S. military.

Despite today’s vote, dozens of Republicans still stand opposed. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz were among 15 republicans who signed a letter requesting that President Obama withdraw Hagel’s name from consideration.

Sen. John Cornyn released this statement, following today’s test vote:

“There is simply no way to sugarcoat it: Senator Hagel’s performance before the Senate Armed Services Committee was remarkably inept, and we should not be installing a Defense Secretary who is obviously not qualified for the job, and who holds dangerously misguided views on some of the most important issues facing national security policy for our country.” ~Sen. John Cornyn

Here is Sen. Ted Cruz’s statement:

“Chuck Hagel will be confirmed because Senate Democrats stood united behind President Obama’s nomination of the most controversial Secretary of Defense in modern times. No one has ever been confirmed to the position with more than 11 “no” votes, until today when a record number of senators voted against his nomination. A great many of us have been concerned about Hagel’s longstanding record of antagonism towards Israel and unwillingness to stand vigorously against Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons. I hope those concerns are proven wrong. I fervently hope that this confirmation does not embolden Iran to accelerate their nuclear weapons development; I fervently hope that this confirmation does not undermine our vital alliance with Israel. Chuck Hagel can prove his critics wrong by standing by his confirmation commitments. He has an enormous task ahead of him, and running the Defense Department will require principled leadership on the world’s stage. I wish Secretary Hagel success in his new role and am committed to working with him to keep America safe and strong.” ~Sen. Ted Cruz


With a Democratic majority in the Senate, Hagel is expected to easily pass a final confirmation vote. That is expected later today.