Senate confirms Trump's Army secretary nominee

Senate confirms Trump's Army secretary nominee
© Greg Nash

The Senate has confirmed President TrumpDonald John TrumpSanders urges impeachment trial 'quickly' in the Senate US sending 20,000 troops to Europe for largest exercises since Cold War Barr criticizes FBI, says it's possible agents acted in 'bad faith' in Trump probe MORE’s choice to be the top civilian leading the Army.

In a Thursday afternoon voice vote, the Senate confirmed Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyRepublicans raise concerns over Trump pardoning service members Overnight Defense: Trump clashes with Macron at NATO summit | House impeachment report says Trump abused power | Top Dem scolds military leaders on Trump intervention in war crimes cases Top Armed Services Democrat scolds military leaders on Trump's intervention in war crimes cases MORE as Army secretary. McCarthy, who has served as Army under secretary since 2017, will fill the role formerly held by Mark EsperMark EsperIraq's riots threaten Iran's plan for Middle East dominance Sunday shows — Nadler: A jury would convict Trump in 'three minutes flat' Florida Republican says Pensacola shooting 'has to inform on our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia' 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 McConnellThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — House Dems charge Trump with abuse, obstruction of Congress in impeachment articles Senate must take up Voting Rights Advancement Act without delay Krystal Ball: Is this how Bernie Sanders will break the establishment? 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.