WASHINGTON (February 14, 2013)—U.S. Senate Republicans Thursday blocked a vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination to become the next defense secretary.
The Senate came up two votes short of the 60 needed to move Hagel's nomination forward as lawmakers prepared to leave town for a week's break.
Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate.
Republicans had been blocking the confirmation of their former colleague and Vietnam veteran until they received information from the White House on President Barack Obama's actions during the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
The White House responded to the request earlier Thursday, saying Mr. Obama spoke with Libyans a day after the attack.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said it’s too soon to close debate on the nomination.
“Today's vote is a vote to continue the debate over Chuck Hagel. It is premature to close off debate on a nominee who hasn't responded to reasonable requests for information and to a White House who continues to stonewall,” he said.