• FEATURED:

    Sen. Graham threatens to stop confirmation hearings

    8:33 AM, Feb 11, 2013   |    comments
    • Share
    • Print
    • - A A A +
    • FILED UNDER

    UNDATED (CBS) -- As President Obama prepares to deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday night, his administration continues to face questions from Republicans about the deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

    Now, one GOP senator is pledging to hold-up the confirmation of two of the president's appointees until he gets more answers about the attack.

    On CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham acknowledged he would use a rule that allows a senator to put a hold on presidential nominees.

    The South Carolina Republican hopes that by delaying the confirmation of Chuck Hagel and John Brennan, he can force the White House to answer questions about how much President Obama knew about the Sept. 11th attack in Benghazi. Graham says, "I want to know what our president did. What did he do as commander in chief? Did he ever pick up the phone and call anybody? I think this is stuff that the country needs to know."

    Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the assault on the U.S. consulate. Republicans have accused the administration of misleading the public about the attack. Graham says, "This White House has been stonewalling the Congress. And I'm going to do everything I can to get to the bottom of this so we'll learn from our mistakes and hold this president accountable for what I think is tremendous disengagement at a time of national security crisis."

    Graham's willingness to block the president's appointees has worked once already. Last month he signaled he would take action to prevent Brennan and Hagel's confirmations unless Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey testified about Benghazi. They were on Capitol Hill last week.

    But Democratic senator Jack Reed says Graham is over-reacting. He says, "These are critical offices. The
    Secretary of Defense, at a time when we're looking at sequester, looking forward -- we're looking at crises across the globe, to dwell on a tragic incident and use that to block people is not appropriate."

    If Graham puts a hold on Brennan and Hagel, then Democrats would have to muster 60 votes in order to move ahead with the nomination.

    Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the White House's National Security Council, said, "We believe the senate should act swiftly to confirm John Brennan and Sen. Hagel. These are critical national security positions and individual members shouldn't play politics with their nominations."

    Most Watched Videos