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Senate votes to confirm Hagel

WASHINGTON – The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Chuck Hagel to be the nation's next defense secretary after Republicans dropped their delay of President Obama's choice to head the Pentagon.

The vote Tuesday was 58-41, with four Republicans joining Democrats in backing President Barack Obama's nominee.

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., voted in favor of Hagel's confirmation, while Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., voted against it.On an earlier vote of 71-27, the Senate ended a Republican filibuster earlier Tuesday, setting the stage for the widely expected confirmation of the former two-term Republican senator from Nebraska later in the day.

Hagel will succeed Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and join Obama's retooled national security team of Secretary of State John Kerry and CIA Director-designate John Brennan.

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