Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin, D-Ill., said Monday that so far, he has not counted a single Democratic “no” vote on the question of whether former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel should be confirmed as Defense secretary.
Hagel, whose nomination has drawn fire from his fellow Republicans, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday for his hearing. Though the session with the panel is expected to be testy, Hagel will likely clear that hurdle before facing a 60-vote threshold in the full Senate. But even Republican aides are quietly conceding he is likely to get the three-fifths majority he needs to prevent a filibuster.
“We did whip it. And the numbers were very positive on the Democratic side,” Durbin said of a preliminary vote count his office did last week of the Senate Democratic Conference’s 55 members.