Senate Republicans in a 58-40 vote Thursday blocked former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-Neb.) nomination as Defense secretary from proceeding to a final up-or-down vote.
Four Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Thad Cochran (Miss.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mike Johanns (Neb.) joined 55 Democrats and Independents in supporting the nomination. Sixty votes were needed to cut off debate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) switched his vote from yes to no in a procedural move that allows him to bring up the nomination again. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) voted present, and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) missed the vote.
Republicans said it was too early to clear Hagel’s nomination but that they would consider allowing an up-or-down vote after the Senate returns to business on Feb. 25.