Senate confirms Trump's Army secretary nominee

Senate confirms Trump's Army secretary nominee
© Greg Nash

The Senate has confirmed President TrumpDonald TrumpJudge rules Alaska governor unlawfully fired lawyer who criticized Trump Giuliani led fake electors plot: CNN Giuliani associate sentenced to a year in prison in campaign finance case MORE’s choice to be the top civilian leading the Army.

In a Thursday afternoon voice vote, the Senate confirmed Ryan McCarthyRyan McCarthyOvernight Defense & National Security — Preparing for the Biden-Putin call Former DC National Guard official accuses generals of lying about Capitol riot Former DC Guard commander calls for retraction of Pentagon watchdog's Jan. 6 report MORE as Army secretary. McCarthy, who has served as Army under secretary since 2017, will fill the role formerly held by Mark EsperMark EsperThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back Former defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Major Russia weapons test stokes tensions 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 McConnellThese Senate seats are up for election in 2022 WATCH: The Hill recaps the top stories of the week Effort to overhaul archaic election law wins new momentum 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.