Virginia's newly minted U.S. senator, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), who was sworn in last week, will be in the thick of things as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, charged with holding hearings on former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to become Secretary of Defense.
President Obama made the announcement Monday. Kaine said he hopes to hear some specifics from the former GOP senator from Nebraska.
"Hagel is a decorated war hero with a strong record of bipartisanship on foreign policy and defense issues," Kaine said in a news release. "I will do all I can to ensure the confirmation hearing addresses important questions regarding the future of our military, the current budgetary challenges facing the country and other important security issues such as U.S. policy towards Iran.”
Hagel has many opponents in the GOP, and there has been controversy over his past views on gay rights and his position on Iran, the Washington Post points out.
Hagel, 66, served as a Republican senator from Nebraska from 1997 to 2009.
If confirmed by the Senate, Hagel will replace Leon Panetta, who said he plans to retire to his farm in California.