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Hagel Committee Vote Could Come Thursday: The Senate Armed Services Committee could vote on former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination to be the next Defense Secretary as early as Feb. 7, a spokesman for SASC Chairman Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) told the Daily Report on Tuesday. The SASC is scheduled to convene on that day to hear testimony from current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on the deadly September 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. News of a vote comes as the likelihood of a GOP filibuster on the Senate floor to prevent the Hagel vote appears to be diminishing, according to press reports on Feb. 5. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said last week Republicans were considering such a move since Hagel did not impress during his nomination hearing on Jan. 31. However, key GOP players, like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have said they would not support a filibuster as a means to decide Hagel's fate. Nonetheless, Hagel faces some stiff Republican opposition on the SASC. Continue to the full report.