40 Republican Senators made history yesterday, and refused to allow Chuck Hagel's confirmation to come to a vote. Only four Republicans, Sens. Thad Cochran (R-MS), Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mike Johanns (R-NE), voted to break the filibuster, and the final vote was 58 to 40. Republicans held up the nomination saying they want more information about the attack in Benghazi – an event that Chuck Hagel had nothing to do with. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “Make no mistake: Republicans are trying to defeat Senator Hagel's nomination by filibustering, while submitting extraneous requests that will never be satisfied.”
This is exactly why many democrats were angry over Reid's weak agreement on filibuster reform – instead of pursuing a rule change to stop the GOP's obstruction. Blocking a vote on a cabinet member is unheard of, and it's appalling that Republicans would play games with our Secretary of Defense, considering we have thousands of service men and women fighting in Afghanistan.
Supposedly, the Senate will take an up-or-down vote on Hagel's confirmation in 10 days, after returning from a President's Day recess. Yesterday, Sen. Lindsey Graham said he expects the vote to move forward then, “unless there's some bombshell that he likes blood sucking vampires.” Other Republicans also said they expect the confirmation to move forward at that time, which makes their filibuster of Chuck Hagel seem even more absurd.
After days like yesterday, it's not hard to see why Congress has it's lowest approval rating in history.