White House Press Secretary Jay Carney blasted Senate Republicans on Thursday for temporarily blocking the nomination of Chuck Hagel as secretary of defense:
Today, Senate Republicans put political posturing ahead of our nation’s security. For the first time in American history, Senate Republicans filibustered a nominee for Secretary of Defense – a member of their own party, a decorated combat veteran, and the right leader for our troops. A clear majority in the United States Senate supports Senator Hagel’s confirmation, so today’s action runs against both the majority will of the Senate and our nation’s interest. This waste of time is not without consequence. We have 66,000 men and women deployed in Afghanistan, and we need our new Secretary of Defense to be a part of significant decisions about how we bring that war to a responsible end. Next week in Brussels, the United States will meet with our allies to talk about the transition in Afghanistan at the NATO Defense Ministerial, and our next Secretary of Defense should be there. With questions about the sequester looming over the Pentagon, our Secretary of Defense should be in place. For the sake of national security, it’s time to stop playing politics with our Department of Defense, and to move beyond the distractions and delay. Allow this war hero an up or down vote, and let our troops have the Secretary of Defense they deserve.