Republicans snub White House, delay Hagel vote
WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Senate Republicans on Thursday ignored a White House demand for a vote to confirm President Barack Obama's pick for defence chief, throwing up a roadblock at a time of rising national security tensions.
Democrats fell one vote short of overcoming the procedural delay and clearing the way for final consideration of Mr Chuck Hagel. Republicans had sought more time to receive and study responses to questions that they said remained unanswered.
The delay means the confirmation vote for Mr Hagel, a former Republican senator, will most likely happen some 10 days from now after a one-week Senate recess.
Mr Obama called the move "unfortunate", while furious Senate Democrats insisted their rivals were more concerned with political point-scoring than ensuring the defence department was adequately represented.