Critic sees Senate voting on Hagel confirmation in coming weeks

WASHINGTON Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:03pm EST

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senator Lindsey Graham said on Thursday that, barring any "bombshells," he is confident that the Senate will move forward later this month on the nomination of Chuck Hagel as U.S. secretary of defense.

The Senate was voting on Thursday afternoon on a motion to overcome a procedural hurdle and clear the way for a confirmation vote this week, but the measure was not expected to receive the 60 votes needed to pass in the 100-member chamber.

Graham, a South Carolina Republican and a critic of President Barack Obama's nomination of Hagel, said he thinks a vote held in late February, after the Senate's recess next week, would garner the 60 votes needed for a full Senate vote to go ahead toward a confirmation vote.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan; Writing by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Will Dunham)

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