In this Jan. 7, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Defense Secretary-nominee, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, in the East Room of
In this Jan. 7, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama shakes hands with Defense Secretary-nominee, former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais. File)

WASHINGTON - Republicans have, for now, blocked Chuck Hagel's nomination to become defense secretary.

The Senate came up two votes short of the 60 needed to move Hagel's nomination forward as lawmakers prepare to leave town for a week's break. Democrats hold a 55-45 edge in the Senate.

Republicans had been blocking the confirmation of their former colleague from Nebraska who is a Vietnam veteran until they received information from the White House on President Barack Obama's actions during the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

The White House responded to that request earlier Thursday, saying Obama spoke with Libyans a day after the attack.