Murkowski Votes Against Defense Secretary Nominee Chuck Hagel

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today voted against Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel – who was confirmed on a 58-41 vote – and released the following statement:

“While I greatly respect Chuck Hagel’s public service, his military career and Vietnam experience do not automatically translate to leading the Pentagon – especially as it faces 21st Century conflicts and challenges.

“Twelve days ago, I agreed to proceed to a final vote on Senator Hagel because it has been my general rule that Cabinet nominees deserve an ‘up or down’ vote, regardless of whether we have a Republican or Democrat in the White House.  I took full advantage of the work week back home to discuss his nomination with Alaskans, and Alaskans reiterated they share the deep concerns I have outlined.

“When Chuck Hagel was put to the test by the Senate Armed Services Committee, he hedged and equivocated when asked about one of the greatest threats to America and our allies in the Middle East: Iran – their nuclear efforts, whether to impose sanctions and whether the United States should consider governments that do not share our peaceful goals as equals at the bargaining table.

“Senator Hagel knew that these questions – along with those on terrorism and modern warfare – were going to be a focal point and he did not satisfy my concerns and the concerns of many Alaskans. Because of my strong reservations surrounding his first real test, I cannot support his nomination to lead the Department of Defense into a new era of evolving and emerging threats.”