Opposition Softens on Obama Cabinet Nominees

Kevin Glass
Posted: Jan 28, 2013 8:45 PM
After a round of meetings last week and hearings for prospective Secretary of State John Kerry, it seems the bipartisan spirit has grasped Capitol Hill with regard to President Obama's cabinet nominees.

As the Associated Press reports, some of the Senate's wavering Democrat members have had good words for Chuck Hagel:

Sens. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Chris Coons of Delaware and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said they met with Hagel this week and were reassured by his commitment to Israel's security.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who met with Hagel on Thursday, said he had satisfied her concerns and she felt his responses were sincere. A member of the Armed Services Committee, she said she would reserve judgment until after the hearing but described Hagel as well-qualified for the job.

Moreover, Republicans have been backing away from a solidified opposition to Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew. The Financial Times has the scoop, saying that "Senate Republicans [are] shying away from an aggressive fight," and that one Republican aide says that Lew "probably ends up being confirmed."

John Kerry's nomination remains on track as well. Republicans themselves are likely saving their political ammunition for Chuck Hagel's hearing, which will occur on Thursday. But if President Obama and Chuck Hagel secure enough Democrat votes, it might not matter what Republicans can do against the former Senator.