The U.S. Senate was set to vote Tuesday afternoon on the appointment of Chuck Hagel as Defense secretary, the Associated Press reported.
The upper chamber, in a 71-27 decision, ended legislative maneuvering that had delayed final action for more than a week after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted along party lines in favor of the former GOP senator's appointment.
Republicans have lambasted Hagel on a number of fronts, including statements suggesting his skepticism about use of unilateral sanctions to deter Iran's nuclear progress and support for further cutbacks in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
"He has an embarrassing lack of knowledge about our policy toward Iran," said Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), referring to Hagel's incorrect indication during his nomination hearing that Obama administration allows for containing rather than preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.
Support from the majority Democrats and a few Republicans in the Senate is expected to ensure Hagel's selection to replace Leon Panetta as Pentagon chief.