Not all Republicans shared that view, however.
"I have examined the information and responses to members' questions that Sen. Hagel has provided to the committee, and I believe that he has fulfilled the rigorous requirements that the committee demands of every presidential nominee to be secretary of defense," Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said in a statement Monday backing Levin's plans for a vote.
McCain's expression of confidence in Hagel's answers was a crucial counterpoint to GOP criticism of the nominee, who still faces Republican threats to block or delay his selection. McCain, the panel's former top Republican, has said he's leaning against supporting his former colleague and friend, but he made clear he would not participate in any walkout by committee Republicans over a Hagel vote.
McCain also met privately late Monday with some committee Republicans and urged them not to filibuster the nomination, saying it would set a bad precedent and pointing out that someday the roles could be reversed with a Republican president and a GOP-led Senate.
"I'm encouraging my colleagues if they want to vote against Sen. Hagel that's one thing and that's a principled stand," McCain told a group of reporters. "We do not want to filibuster. We have not filibustered a cabinet appointee in the past, and I believe that we should move forward with his nomination, bring it to the floor and vote up or down."
Obama tapped Hagel, a former two-term Nebraska Republican senator and twice-wounded combat veteran in Vietnam, to succeed Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta.