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Senate Blocks Hagel Nomination

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will have to stay on the job a little bit longer.

As expected, the Senate on Thursday failed to invoke cloture, essentially cutting off debate and not moving closer toward final passage of Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be the next defense secretary.

The vote was 58-40. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, voted present. Four Republicans voted with the Democrats to end debate.

This marks the first time a Cabinet nominee has ever been blocked on a cloture vote.

The Senate will now recess for the President’s Day holiday, until Feb. 25. They will take up Hagel’s nomination then.

Republicans say they will use that time to gather additional information on Hagel, including getting transcripts of speeches Hagel has given and certain financial disclosures that they have not been provided.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., railed against Republicans for the filibuster.

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