Washington Week

Republicans stall Hagel nomination; Violence Against Women Act renewed

Published Feb 17, 2013 at 04:00AM

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans stalled the confirmation of former Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., Thursday by requiring 60 votes to advance his nomination.

Several Republicans said they wanted more time to review past speeches Hagel had given that they had not yet seen, and hinted strongly that his nomination to replace outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta would proceed more easily after the Senate returns to Washington the week of Feb. 25. Needing 60 votes to pass a cloture vote that would have allowed an immediate vote on Hagel's nomination, the measure failed, 58-40. Four Republicans joined with 54 Democrats to vote for the measure, and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., voted no to preserve his ability to prompt another vote on Hagel's nomination at a later date.

U.S. Senate vote

• Hagel cloture vote

Merkley (D) Y

Wyden (D) Y

On Tuesday, the Senate voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which provides federal funding for the prosecution and victims of crimes of domestic violence. The law was originally passed in 1994, and its proponents highlighted that rates of domestic violence have decreased by more than 50 percent since then. Republican opponents of the reauthorization maintained that the bill is unconstitutional because it grants authority to Indian tribes to preside over domestic violence cases on tribal lands, even when the perpetrator is an American citizen. The measure passed, 78-22, with 23 Republicans joining 53 Democrats and two Independents in voting yes. All 22 no votes came from Republicans.

U.S. Senate vote

• Violence Against Women Act

Merkley (D) Y

Wyden (D) Y

The House of Representatives voted Friday to freeze federal employees' pay at current levels for another year. Late last year, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that would give federal employees a 0.5 percent pay raise in March, but Republican leaders in the House insisted that the government could not afford a raise. Military salaries are exempt from the freeze in Friday's legislation, which passed by a 261-154 margin, with 218 Republicans and 43 Democrats voting for it. Ten Republicans and 144 Democrats voted no.

U.S. House vote

• Freeze federal employee pay

Walden (R) Y

Blumenauer (D) N

Bonamici (D) N

DeFazio (D) Y

Schrader (D) N

— Andrew Clevenger, The Bulletin