WASHINGTON The Senate will vote on Thursday on a motion to end debate on the nomination of Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama's new secretary of defense.
If the motion passes, the vote would clear the way for the 100-member Senate to decide whether to confirm the former Republican senator as Pentagon chief, but it is expected to be narrowly defeated.
Some Republican senators said they want more time to consider Hagel's nomination.
Senator John McCain of Arizona said on the Senate floor that he believes there will be the 60 votes needed to stop debate - and clear the way for a vote by the full Senate on confirmation - after the Senate returns on February 25 from next week's recess.
The vote is set for 4:15 p.m. EST.
(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Will Dunham)