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Sens. Johnson, Baldwin vote along party lines for Hagel nomination

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WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s U.S. senators voted opposite ways, when Chuck Hagel was confirmed Tuesday as the nation’s new defense secretary.

A seven-week battle over his nomination ended Tuesday, when a divided Senate voted 58-41 to confirm the president’s appointment.

Democrat Tammy Baldwin voted yes. Ron Johnson voted no – and only four of his fellow Republicans joined Democrats in supporting Hagel, who was wounded twice in Vietnam and later served two terms in the Senate.

Johnson questioned Hagel’s qualifications, leaving doubts on whether he has enough experience in foreign affairs and fulfilling military missions. Johnson said that when it comes to national defense, the bar must be, “necessarily high.”

The ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, Oklahoma’s Jim Imhofe, said Hagel’s record on Iran, Israel, and defense spending demonstrates a, “troubling lack of judgment.” But Imhofe said he would work with Hagel to avoid $46 billion in automatic, across the board defense cuts which are due to take effect on Friday.

Tuesday, Fort McCoy near Sparta said it would put 1,500 civilian employees on furloughs for one day a week if the cuts become a reality. For the workers, it would amount to a 20 percent pay cut.

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