John McCain: Chuck Hagel ‘Will Probably Have the Votes Necessary to Be Confirmed’

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have been vocal in their opposition to the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next secretary of defense. (AP)

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Sunday conceded that President Barack Obama’s pick for secretary of defense will likely be confirmed, despite a last-ditch effort by Republicans to block him.

McCain was one of former Sen. Chuck Hagel’s sharpest questioners during his confirmation hearing last month and has gone on record opposing him for the Pentagon’s top job.

“I’m confident that Sen. Hagel will probably have the votes necessary to be confirmed as secretary of defense,” McCain said on NBC’s “Meet the Press”.

Senate Republicans blocked Hagel’s nomination on Thursday, demanding another week and a half to examine his records and also more information from the White House on the terror attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

McCain predicted the vote on his fellow Vietnam veteran would come through when the Senate returns from recess.

“I think it’s a reasonable amount of time to have questions answered,” he said.

The Obama administration has publicly dismissed the notion that the delay would hamper Hagel’s ability to do the job effectively.

“No, he’s not going to be a weaker defense secretary,” new White House chief of staff Denis McDonough told NBC. “He’s going to be a great defense secretary.”