Senate confirms Trump's Army secretary nominee

Senate confirms Trump's Army secretary nominee
© Greg Nash

The Senate has confirmed President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE’s choice to be the top civilian leading the Army.

In a Thursday afternoon voice vote, the Senate confirmed Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyOvernight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Intel chief defends handling of whistleblower complaint | Complaint alleged attempt to cover-up Ukraine call | US to send 200 troops to Saudi Arabia | Senate confirms Joint Chiefs No. 2 Pentagon study finds rising suicide rates in military MORE as Army secretary. McCarthy, who has served as Army under secretary since 2017, will fill the role formerly held by Mark EsperMark EsperFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Democrats to offer resolution demanding Trump reverse Syria decision Army officer calls Syria pullback 'a stain on the American conscience' MORE until he became Defense secretary in July.

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McCarthy’s confirmation comes a week after his nomination was advanced by the Senate Armed Services Committee and two weeks after his confirmation hearing.

The Senate has prioritized filling Pentagon vacancies the last couple months after the department spent most of the year without Senate-confirmed leaders.

Earlier Thursday, the Senate confirmed Gen. John Hyten to be vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after his nomination was stalled for months over sexual assault allegations against him.

McCarthy, a former Army ranger whose prior jobs include special assistant to former Defense Secretary Bob Gates, professional staff member on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and vice president at defense contractor Lockheed Martin, was seen as an uncontroversial nominee who earned praise on Capitol Hill for his performance as under secretary.

During his confirmation hearing, Democrats grilled him on Trump’s decision to use $3.6 billion in military construction funding on his proposed border wall.

McCarthy pledged to get senators the legal opinion on the use of military construction funds for the border wall.

With McCarthy’s confirmation, Air Force Secretary nominee Barbara Barrett remains the last major Pentagon nominee awaiting a vote.

Barrett was advanced by the Armed Services Committee the same day as McCarthy, but a full Senate vote has been slowed by a hold placed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

Blumenthal opposes Barrett because she would not commit during her hearing to issuing an Air Force-wide policy banning service members from staying at Trump properties amid a controversy over airmen staying at Trump’s Turnberry resort in Scotland during refueling stops.

On Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria Republicans wrestle with impeachment strategy Mattis warns 'ISIS will resurge' without U.S. pressure on Syria MORE (R-Ky.) filed a motion to invoke cloture on Barrett’s nomination, setting her up for a full Senate vote when the chamber returns from its two-week recess in October.