FILE - In this Jan. 31, 2013 file photo, former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel, President Obama's choice for defense secretary, testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. Hagel has lined up the necessary votes for the Senate to confirm him next week to be the nation's next defense secretary, after a senior Republican lawmaker said he will back President Barack Obama's choice. Barring any new developments, five-term Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said he would vote for his fellow Republican. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
WASHINGTON — Barring any new, damaging information, Chuck Hagel has secured the necessary votes for the Senate to confirm him to be the nation's next defense secretary. A vote ending the bitter fight over President Barack Obama's choice for his revamped second-term, national security team is expected next week.
Hagel cleared the threshold when five-term Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama said he would vote for the former GOP senator from Nebraska after joining other Republicans last week in an unprecedented filibuster of the Pentagon nominee.
"He's probably as good as we're going to get," Shelby told the Decatur (Ala.) Daily.