Privately, Republicans say a drawn-out filibuster would be unsuccessful.
More than a dozen Republicans have said they will oppose their former colleague, and several others have indicated they are likely to vote no. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., a member of the Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday she would vote against the nominee, citing his performance at his confirmation hearing.
Hagel seemed ill-prepared under withering cross-examination from committee Republicans in nearly eight hours of testimony on Jan. 31. He was repeatedly pressed about past statements and votes on Israel, Iran and nuclear weapons, with GOP lawmakers suggesting he wasn’t sufficiently supportive of Israel or anti-Iran.
In the memo circulated Tuesday, Republicans sought to draw comparisons to the 2005 fight over President George W. Bush’s nomination of John Bolton to be ambassador to the United Nations, when Democrats tried to stop the nomination. The position is not Cabinet-level, however.
Faced with a Democratic filibuster, Bush circumvented the Senate and made Bolton a recess appointment.
One senator, Republican David Vitter of Louisiana, did not vote in the committee Tuesday.