The Democrat leader of the United States Senate has accused Republicans of putting the country at risk by trying to delay a vote to confirm Chuck Hagel as President Barack Obama’s new defence secretary.
Harry Reid made an impassioned plea for Mr Hagel’s confirmation, amid doubts over whether he could get the 60 votes needed to overcome roadblocks preventing a vote.
He accused Republicans of trying to score political points by continuing to delay confirmation of the new Pentagon chief.
Democrats, who are united in support of Mr Hagel, a former Republican senator from Nebraska, control 55 seats in the 100-member Senate and could confirm him without any Republican backing. However, they need the support of 60 senators to clear procedural hurdles and allow the vote.