Barack Obama | Barbara Boxer | Charles Schumer | Chuck Hagel | Military | News

Schumer, Boxer Get Behind Hagel Nomination, Cite His 'Sensitivity and Understanding' of Gay Military Issues

New York Senator Charles Schumer and California Senator Barbara Boxer are getting behind the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary.

HagelPolitico reports that Boxer has been swayed by a persuasive letter and "extensive" phone conversations:

“First and foremost, he has pledged without reservation to support President Obama’s polices — policies that I believe have made our world safer and our alliances stronger,” Boxer said in a Monday night statement.

“I asked him about a number of issues — including America’s special relationship with Israel, the threats posed by Iran to the world and the treatment of women and gay and lesbian members of our military — and his answers were reassuring and show a sensitivity and understanding of these issues.”

Boxer added Hagel would meet with her about the Pentagon’s efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, presuming he’s confirmed by the Senate.

The outreach shows how the White House has placed a premium in wooing key Democrats early in the confirmation process — even ones like Boxer, who does not serve on the Armed Services Committee.

And Schumer says he's now on board too, saying, in part:

On issues related to female and LGBT service members, Senator Hagel provided key assurances as well. He said he is committed to implementing the Shaheen amendment to improve the reproductive health of military women. He also supports the full repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

In general, I believe any President deserves latitude in selecting his own advisors. While the Senate confirmation process must be allowed to run its course, it is my hope that Senator Hagel’s thorough explanations will remove any lingering controversy regarding his nomination.

Read Schumer's full statement here.

Read Hagel's letter to Boxer, AFTER THE JUMP...


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  1. Ah so in other words they were phoned by the White House, nice.

    Posted by: Jay | Jan 15, 2013 11:46:02 AM

  2. The President deserves to have his Cabinet choices confirmed, and Hagel is a good pick who will resist the push from the Chickenhawk wing of the GOP to take us into further pointless wars of choice. So actually Jay, yeah, nice.

    Posted by: antb | Jan 15, 2013 12:15:48 PM

  3. I think the backing of Schumer and Boxer, both Jewish and pro LGBT equality, pretty much guarantees Hagel's approval by the Senate. I certainly hope so.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 15, 2013 12:23:46 PM

  4. While I thought Sen. Hagels' earlier public comments on G/L issues troubling, I'm heartened by the example of Marine Corps Commandant Amos. Gen. Amos' pre-appeal stance was rather rigid on DADT, Gen. Amos' downright-aggressive support of a post-DADT integration and acceptance within the Corps have been impressive.

    I'm willing to give Sen. Hagel a hearing to see if he's made a similar evolution.

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Jan 15, 2013 1:34:30 PM

  5. The repeal of DADT is a done deal. Of course he now supports it. It is no long hurting gay and lesbian service members. The question that he SHOULD have been asked is if he supports the repeal of DOMA which is STILL hurting gay and lesbian troops.

    Part of the problem in this country is that people don't ask the right QUESTIONS!

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jan 15, 2013 4:54:15 PM

  6. As long as he fights to prevent Akin's amendment from going buck wild, he's got my support.

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 15, 2013 5:19:50 PM

  7. @ TampaZeke: I support asking Hagel's position on DOMA, but the REAL unasked question isn't TO HIM at all. And that is: WHY—for nearly TWO YEARS—the President/Commander-in-Chief has REFUSED to order ANY of his Secretaries of Defense to extend the multiple benefits to gay military couples NOT banned by DOMA? A second one is WHY he has also REFUSED for nearly two years to issue an order banning discrimination against LGB service members given the Pentagon has REFUSED to include them in the protections against harassment and discrimination of the Military Equal Opportunity automatically guaranteed to nongay service members on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, and religious or political affiliation? Pie-in-the-sky promises by his latest nominee are MEANINGLESS as Hagel can/will do nothing without the President's approval.So WHY isn't SLDN, HRC, et al. DEMANDING the President to order SITTING Secretary of Defense Leno Panetta to do these things NOW???? "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." - former slave and abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 15, 2013 5:58:10 PM

  8. @ Ted B: you simply don't know what you're talking about. In NO WAY has Marine Commandant Amos displayed downright-aggressive support of a post-DADT integration and acceptance in the Corps! He's simply paid lip service to FOLLOWING ORDERS while REFUSING to apologize for trying to torpedo repeal by claiming Marines could be maimed or even killed if it happened.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 15, 2013 6:27:45 PM

  9. There is so much that I like about Chuck Hagel. He is a wounded warrior who as a result of his military service in Vietnam came to hate war. He believes along with Obama and Kerry that military interventions should be used only as a last resort. He is the antidote to the "chicken hawk" Neocon Republicans who just love wars, as long as they don't have to do the actual fighting. As a veteran enlisted man, I love the fact that he will be the first former enlisted man to serve as Sec of Defense. I think the foreign policy team of Obama-Kerry-Hagel will serve our country well.

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 15, 2013 6:40:01 PM

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