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US Senate Expected to Confirm Hagel as Pentagon Chief

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The U.S. Senate is expected to soon confirm Chuck Hagel as the next U.S. Defense secretary.

The Senate voted earlier Tuesday to end debate on the nomination of the former senator, clearing the way for his confirmation later in the day by the Democratically-controlled Senate.

Senate Republicans delayed a full vote on Hagel's nomination nearly two weeks ago, raising concerns about his views on the Middle East and the size of the country's nuclear arsenal.

Republicans accused Hagel of being too lenient toward Iran and too critical of Israel. Republicans also found fault with him for opposing the 2007 U.S. troop surge in Iraq.

Despite the criticism, Senate Republicans indicated late Monday they would stop delaying the "up or down" vote on the nomination.



President Barack Obama nominated Hagel, a former enlisted solider and Vietnam veteran, to succeed retiring Pentagon chief Leon Panetta.

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