WASHINGTON — The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Friday he will press ahead with a vote on Chuck Hagel's nomination to be defense secretary, rejecting Republican demands for more financial information from President Barack Obama's choice as setting an unprecedented standard.
In a letter, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., provided a point-by-point rebuttal to the GOP requests for data on Hagel's paid speeches and foreign donors to private entities he has been affiliated with, arguing that the requirements exceed the committee's rules and what has been asked of previous defense secretaries, Republican and Democrat.
His letter was in response to Wednesday's letter from 26 Senate Republicans to Hagel insisting that they needed more information before they could vote on his nomination.
Hagel, a former two-term Republican senator and decorated veteran in the Vietnam War, has faced fierce GOP opposition.
Levin, who this week postponed an expected committee vote on the nomination as the GOP pressed for information, said he intends to schedule a vote as soon as possible.