10 things you need to know today: February 15, 2013

Republicans block Hagel's confirmation, a disabled cruise ship finally docks, and more in our roundup of the stories that are making news and driving opinion

Media await the final unloading of the crippled cruise liner Carnival Triumph Feb. 14 in Mobile, Ala.
(Image credit: Jeff Gammons/Getty Images)

1. GOP BLOCKS HAGEL CONFIRMATION VOTE

Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked President Obama's nominee, former GOP senator Chuck Hagel, to lead the Defense Department. Democrats fell two votes shy of the 60 they needed to overcome the Republican filibuster. It's the first time in history that the Senate has made a nominee to lead the Pentagon clear the 60-vote hurdle before a final, simple majority confirmation vote. Hagel's Republican critics, who say he's not supportive enough of Israel and too soft on Iran, argued that Democrats were trying to rush the confirmation process, and several said they wouldn't block a final vote when the Senate returns from its Presidents' Day recess in 10 days. Democrats accused Republicans of needlessly stirring up partisan tensions, and vowed to push through the nomination of Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran. [New York Times]

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