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Hagel Confirmation Temporarily Blocked

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski meets with the president's nominee for secretary of defense and former Senator Chuck Hagel in Washington on February 7, 2013.Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski meets with the president's nominee for secretary of defense and former Senator Chuck Hagel in Washington on February 7, 2013.
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Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski meets with the president's nominee for secretary of defense and former Senator Chuck Hagel in Washington on February 7, 2013.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Barbara Mikulski meets with the president's nominee for secretary of defense and former Senator Chuck Hagel in Washington on February 7, 2013.
Republicans in the U.S. Senate have temporarily blocked a vote on whether to confirm Chuck Hagel as the next defense secretary.

On February 14, the Senate came up two votes short of the 60 needed to hold a formal confirmation on President Barack Obama's nominee.

Obama reacted immediately, accusing Republicans of playing politics with the nation at war.

The former Nebraska Senator is facing opposition mainly from members of his own Republican Party, with some questioning his support of U.S. ally Israel and his determination to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

A vote on his nomination is now expected on February 26.

Commentators say despite the latest setback, Hagel should win the simple majority of 51 votes needed to secure the nomination as Democrats hold 55 seats. 

If confirmed, Hagel will be the first enlisted man to serve as defense secretary.

Based on AP and Reuters reporting

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