The U.S. Senate this afternoon confirmed Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense after weeks of Republican filibuster and attempts to derail his candidacy by conservatives and neocons. Below, statements from President Obama and LGBT groups.
Hagel was confirmed by a 58-41 vote. All the no votes were from Republicans, and only four Republicans voted for Hagel: Thad Cochran (MS), Mike Johanns (NE), Richard C. Shelby (AL) and Rand Paul (KY).
President Obama released the following statement moments ago:
“With the bipartisan confirmation of Chuck Hagel as our next Secretary of Defense, we will have the defense secretary our nation needs and the leader our troops deserve. From the moment he volunteered for military service in Vietnam, Chuck has devoted his life to keeping America secure and our armed forces strong. An American patriot who fought and bled for our country, he understands our sacred obligations to our service members, military families and veterans.
“I will be counting on Chuck’s judgment and counsel as we end the war in Afghanistan, bring our troops home, stay ready to meet the threats of our time and keep our military the finest fighting force in the world. Most of all, I am grateful to Chuck for reminding us that when it comes to our national defense, we are not Democrats or Republicans, we are Americans, and our greatest responsibility is the security of the American people.”
Vice President Joe Biden:
“I’ve travelled across the world with Chuck Hagel, and I’ve seen him in action in the United States Senate. Wherever he is, his talent and dedication to our country are clear. He feels a deep commitment to our men and women in uniform, and as the head of the Pentagon I know their interests will always be close to his heart. Most importantly, I know the President will be able to rely on Chuck’s sound, unvarnished judgment on any issue where our troops are involved. For that and many more reasons, I’m looking forward to working with Secretary Hagel.”
The Log Cabin Republicans:
“Despite a history of hurtful comments against the LGBT community and a dismal record on our issues, we must look to the future now that Chuck Hagel has been confirmed as Secretary of Defense with the hope that his repudiation of past statements and declared commitment to supporting open service for all is genuine,” Gregory T. Angelo, Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans said via a statement.
“It is up to Secretary Hagel to turn his recent words into actions. We will be watching to make sure his change of heart is sincere and look forward to working with him on the completion of the implementation of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal. There are still many issues facing gay members of the armed services, and we hope to have Secretary Hagel’s steadfast support in addressing the inequalities that exist in our military, including equal housing and formal protection against harassment and discrimination. Senator Hagel was never our ideal choice for Secretary of Defense, but we know we can find common ground with him on at least one issue: we want what is best for the United States of America and our brave men and women who serve to protect it.”
“We congratulate Senator Hagel for enduring an incredibly arduous confirmation process to become our next Secretary of Defense – this is a win for all service members, and for LGBT service members and their families especially,” Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson said in a statement.
“We thank the Senator for his commitment to equal treatment and equal opportunity, and we urge him to take swift action to include our service members in non-discrimination and anti-harassment protections,” Robinson added.
“It has been reassuring to see Senator Hagel show the kind of clear, unambiguous leadership in support of our service members and their families he has demonstrated in recent months. Now he has the opportunity to turn his commitments into action, and we look forward to working with him to ensure our military embodies the same values of fairness and equality it protects” said Robinson.
Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN):
“SWAN congratulates Senator Hagel on his confirmation as Secretary of Defense. We are at a critical juncture with our nation’s military and we need decisive, strong leadership to usher in greater justice and equality. We strongly urge the Secretary to continue making the eradication of military sexual violence a top priority. We also advocate a continued focus on providing full reproductive health care for service women, ensuring benefits and protections for LGBT service members and their families, and overseeing the full and fair integration of women into combat units. We also recommend that Secretary Hagel engage with the community by working closely with veterans-led advocacy organizations to accomplish these goals.”
We’ll add more statements here when they become available.
Image by C-SPAN via Twitter
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