The letter states that a Secretary of Defense should have broad bipartisan support.
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) voted against bringing Hagel's nomination to a vote last week, but now he says he'll vote for his confirmation.
Asked about the Senate vote during an online "fireside hangout" late Thursday afternoon, President Obama said that he expects and continues to hope that Hagel will be confirmed. But he slammed Senate Republicans for their "unprecedented filibuster" of a Defense nominee.
Senate Democrats are forcing a vote this afternoon to end debate on the nomination of Chuck Hagel to serve as secretary of defense, bringing to a head a showdown over the nomination of the former Republican senator despite strong GOP objections.
Several Republicans told the magazine that the threshold for Hagel's confirmation would be 60 votes. But they said they were not filibustering the nomination, just placing holds on it. Hagel almost certainly has enough votes for confirmation.
The Senate Armed Services Committee is voting now on former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel's nomination to be secretary of defense. Democrats have a 14 to 12 member edge on the committee, so Hagel is expected to clear this hurdle and move on to a full Senate vote.
Foreign Policy reports that Sens. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) won't agree to a Senate Armed Services Committee vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination as defense secretary until they get more information from the former Nebraska senator.
"I feel like I want to apologize for some of the tone and demeanor today." Manchin said.
Hagel is pressed by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand to explain statements that the Iranian government is "legitimate."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) needled Chuck Hagel on his comments about the "Jewish lobby," challenging the former Nebraska senator to name any dumb policy voted on or senator intimidated by advocates for Israel.