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Tom Murse

Senate Republican Maneuver on Hagel: Is it a Filibuster or Isn't It?

By February 14, 2013

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Chuck HagelSenate Republicans are dragging their feet on bringing to a vote President Barack Obama's nominee for Defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, but they scoff at claims their stalling tactic rises to the level of a filibuster - a move that would unprecedented for a cabinet pick.

Who's right?

Here's the bottom line: Republicans refuse to end debate on Hagel's nomination because they're holding out for more information on Obama's handling of the attacks on an American consulate in Benghzai. And Democrats cannot not muster the 60 votes needed to get cloture; they fell one vote short this week of ending debate.

And yet U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, insisted on the Senate floor: "This is not a filibuster." His denial was echoed across the chamber by fellow Republicans. "It's not a filibuster. I don't want to use that word," Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe Oklahoma said.

The Congressional Research Service disagrees. Here's its definition of a filibuster: "A filibuster is a matter of intent; any course of action by opponents of a matter may be a filibuster if it is undertaken with the purpose of blocking or delaying a vote."

Senate Republicans have made no secret of their intent, to delay a vote on Hagel. It's doesn't matter what they want to call their action.

If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck and acts like a duck, well, you know what they say.

Quack, quack.

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