Senate Republicans have blocked a vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as the new U.S. Defense secretary.
The Senate fell two votes short Thursday of Democrats’ demand to end a Republican debate on the nomination and bring it to a final vote.
The Senate now goes on a 10-day recess, and Hagel will have to wait at least until then to find out if he will be the next Pentagon chief.
President Barack Obama calls the Republican debate to block the nomination unprecedented. He said it is unfortunate that the senators are using this kind of politics while the nation is still at war in Afghanistan.
Republicans have been holding up the Hagel nomination, demanding the White House provide more information about the attack last Sept. 11 on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
White House spokesman Jay Carney says the administration has given Congress plenty of details on the attack. He calls the Republican delaying tactics unconscionable. He says U.S. troops and the country need a Defense secretary.
Obama chose Hagel, a former Republican senator, to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
But some Republicans accuse Hagel of being too critical of Israel and too soft on Iran.