Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed a motion on Wednesday to limit debate and force a vote on Hagel's nomination. Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate and have the numbers to confirm Hagel on a majority vote. But they would need the support of five Republicans before an up-or-down vote on the president's pick to head the Defense Department would be allowed if the GOP decided to filibuster. Republicans have indicated they might delay a vote.
A divided Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday voted to approve Hagel by a 14-11 vote along partisan lines.