Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sen. Toomey opposes Hagel for Defense Secretary

Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey is the latest lawmaker to openly criticize controversial Obama Secretary of Defense nominee Chuck Hagel, saying he will oppose Hagel's confirmation.

Pat Toomey issued the following statement on Thursday:
"I appreciate and respect Sen. Hagel’s service to our country – both as an Army noncommissioned officer in Vietnam and as a member of Congress.  Nevertheless, I have deep concerns about Sen. Hagel’s attitude toward our national security relationship with Israel, and his approach toward dealing with Iran and various terrorist organizations including Hezbollah. Also, his poor performance during the Senate confirmation hearings and lack of transparency in providing information to the Armed Services Committee raise serious questions about Sen. Hagel’s ability to manage the Pentagon."
"I met with Sen. Hagel in my office and closely watched his responses to my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee.  Specifically, I've sought explanations regarding his opposition to Iran sanctions and his statements regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  His remarks seem inconsistent to me and are troubling. His earlier positions on Iran were inconsistent with administration policy, and I am troubled by what appears to be a nomination conversion on this and other issues."

"The president deserves considerable latitude on appointing members of his cabinet and I have typically supported those nominees including those with whom I have significant policy disagreements.  But Sen. Hagel's shifting positions, questionable performance during the Senate confirmation process and disturbing record on some of the most important national security issues of the day concern me."

"In light of these concerns, I will not vote to move to his nomination forward."

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