The White House is urging Senate Republicans to drop what it calls an "unconscionable" Senate filibuster against Obama's pick for Defense Secretary, warning it sends the wrong signal to U.S. allies and members of the U.S. military.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Thursday that Obama "stands strongly behind" Hagel and believes he'll "do a wonderful job in a very important role.. leading the Department of Defense at a challenging time for our country. We need our new secretary of defense in place."
Earnest noted that there is a defense ministerial meeting in Brussels next week, where the U.S. will meet with allies to talk about the military's transition out of Afghanistan and needs its "new defense secretary to be there.
"It does not send a favorable signal for Republicans in the United States Senate to delay a vote on the president's nominee, a nominee who's a member of their own party," Earnest said. "It's difficult to explain to our allies exactly why that's happening. It also sends a signal to our men and women in uniform who are currently deployed around the globe and who are currently serving on the front lines in Afghanistan and are taking fire today."
Earnest said the White House is urging Senate Republicans to drop the delay: "There is a clear majority in the United States Senate for Senator Hagel's confirmation. These delaying tactics are unconscionable, and they should end right away," he said.