Senate panel begins hearing leading up to Hagel vote

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Armed Services Committee has begun a hearing that is expected to culminate in a vote on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary.

He's facing fierce opposition from his fellow Republicans who have challenged his past statements and votes on Israel, Iran, Iraq and nuclear weapons.

Just hours before today's hearing, his opponents circulated a memo arguing for more information about Hagel's personal finances. The memo highlighted past statements by Democratic senators demanding further disclosures when the Senate considered nominees from Republican presidents.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is pushing for a full Senate vote later this week. If Hagel is approved in committee, as expected, he faces Republican delaying tactics in the full Senate.

Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, is President Barack Obama's choice to succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who is stepping down after four years as CIA director and Pentagon chief.

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052-a-10-(Jay Carney, White House press secretary, at news conference)-"well as Democrats"-White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says the White House is confident Chuck Hagel will win nomination to be defense secretary. (12 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *052 (02/12/13)>> 00:10 "well as Democrats"

045-a-08-(Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in remarks)-"on this one"-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he doesn't expect Republicans will filibuster Hagel's nomination. (12 Feb 2013)

<<CUT *045 (02/12/13)>> 00:08 "on this one"

APPHOTO NY111: FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2103 file photo, former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, pushed ahead Monday with plans for a vote on Hagel's nomination to be defense secretary despite Republican demands for more financial information from him. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) (31 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO NY111 (01/31/13)>>

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