Senate confirms Trump's Army secretary nominee

Senate confirms Trump's Army secretary nominee
© Greg Nash

The Senate has confirmed President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE’s choice to be the top civilian leading the Army.

In a Thursday afternoon voice vote, the Senate confirmed Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyTrump's 355-ship pledge complicates the Navy's budget dilemma Overnight Defense: War powers fight runs into impeachment | Kaine has 51 votes for Iran resolution | Trump plans to divert .2B from Pentagon to border wall Overnight Defense: House passes measure to limit Trump on Iran | Pelosi vows vote to end 2002 war authorization | Officials believe Iran accidentally shot down passenger plane MORE as Army secretary. McCarthy, who has served as Army under secretary since 2017, will fill the role formerly held by Mark EsperMark EsperOvernight Defense: US military jet crashes in Afghanistan | Rocket attack hits US embassy in Baghdad | Bolton bombshell rocks impeachment trial Overnight Defense: Veterans group seeks Trump apology for comments on brain injuries | Pentagon says dozens of troops suffered traumatic injuries after attack | Trump unveils Space Force logo Commerce Department withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon pushback: reports  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 McConnellRepublicans show little enthusiasm for impeachment witness swap Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — CDC, State Department warn against travel to China | Biden says Trump left US unprepared for epidemic | Justices allow Trump 'public charge' rule to move forward Progressive group targeting vulnerable GOP senators on impeachment witnesses 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.