Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire plans to oppose the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel for Defense Secretary.
“@Kelly Ayotte will oppose Chuck Hagel for SecDefense,” John DiStaso, senior political reporter for the Union Leader newspaper in Manchester, H.H., said on Twitter.
Ayotte, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is expected to explain her decision in an op-ed article for the Union Leader.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said he will seek a vote by the panel Tuesday on Hagel’s nomination, as Democrats seek to overcome Republican opposition and complete action on the confirmation as soon as this week.
“It is the chairman’s intention to vote on the nomination after the members have an opportunity for discussion,” Levin, a Michigan Democrat, said Monday in a statement.
The Obama administration faces opposition from most Senate Republicans as it seeks to install Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, to replace the retiring Leon Panetta as the Pentagon’s top official.
Ayotte’s expected vote against Hagel, the former Nebraska GOP senator, comes as Sen. John McCain of Arizona said he would support a committee vote on Hagel’s nomination.
“I believe it is appropriate for the Armed Services Committee to vote on Senator Hagel’s nomination and determine whether to move this nomination to the Senate floor, where members can debate and express their own judgments on Sen. Hagel,” McCain said.
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