In this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo, former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (J. Scott Applewhite -- Associated Press, File)

Chuck Hagel’s bid to win confirmation as the next defense secretary cleared a major hurdle Tuesday by beating back a Republican effort to block his nomination almost two weeks after GOP senators launched a filibuster.

Following a 71 to 27 vote, the former Republican senator is now poised for a final confirmation vote later Tuesday or early Wednesday over Republican objections to his views on Middle East security.

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