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Senate to vote on moving ahead on Hagel nod

By The Associated Press

This article was published February 26, 2013 at 8:14 a.m.

— The Senate is moving toward a vote on President Barack Obama’s contentious choice of Chuck Hagel to head the Defense Department, with the former Republican senator on track to win confirmation after a protracted political fight.

Twelve days after Republicans stalled the nomination, the Senate was set to vote Tuesday on proceeding with the Hagel selection after GOP lawmakers signaled late Monday that they would end their delaying tactics.

If Hagel gets the necessary votes, it would just be a matter of time for a simple up-or-down vote, although Republicans could insist on the maximum 30 hours of debate before a final vote.

If confirmed, Hagel would succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and join Obama’s retooled national security team just days before automatic, across-the-board budget cuts hit the Pentagon.

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