WASHINGTON — The Senate votes again today on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be defense secretary.
The former U.S. senator from Nebraska fell one vote short of advancing when the Senate voted almost two weeks ago, just before going on recess.
He needs 60 votes to clear a procedural hurdle before the Senate can vote on his actual nomination.
What to watch:
>> Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb. — She opposes the nomination but supports giving him an up-or-down vote. Still, she voted against advancing his nomination before the recess, saying some senators were still trying to get questions answered. Fischer told The World-Herald on Monday she wasn't sure how she would vote today because she had yet to visit with her colleagues.
>> Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. — The one-time Hagel ally reiterated Monday that he thinks Hagel is unqualified for the position and slammed his performance at the confirmation hearing. Still, he said he would support advancing the nomination to an up-or-down vote, which pretty much assures that Hagel will be confirmed this week.
>> Final vote — Once confirmed, Hagel will have to work with lawmakers on Capitol Hill on an array of issues facing the Pentagon. The size of Republican opposition seen today will in part set the tone for his tenure.
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• Photo showcase: Chuck Hagel through the years
• Quiz: How well do you know Chuck Hagel?
• Full coverage: Chuck Hagel's nomination
• Senate Armed Services Committee members weigh in on Hagel nomination
— Joseph Morton