Los Angeles Times

Panel OKs Garcetti as India ambassador

Former L.A. mayor’s confirmati­on for the post now awaits an uncertain vote before the full Senate.

- By Nolan D. McCaskill Times staff writer Dakota Smith contribute­d to this report.

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted Wednesday to advance former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination to be ambassador to India.

The nomination will now go to the full Senate, though it’s unclear when Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) will schedule a floor vote — and whether Garcetti has enough support to be confirmed.

“I am honored to be President Biden’s nominee for this important post, and pleased that the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has once again approved my nomination on a bipartisan vote,” Garcetti said in a statement.

Biden renominate­d him in January after his name failed to advance through the Senate last year.

Most Republican­s on the Foreign Relations Committee opposed Garcetti’s nomination Wednesday, a contrast to last year, when Garcetti and other nominees sailed through without any stated objections.

But two Republican­s voted in favor of Garcetti on Wednesday, which committee Chair Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said bodes well for the former mayor’s final confirmati­on.

“I would think that he would find a pathway forward on the floor to be supported,” Menendez said. “It’s just a question of getting him time on the floor. Nomination­s take up time.”

The committee meeting had been postponed for over a week after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) placed a hold on the nomination­s of Garcetti and others.

In a statement announcing his hold, Rubio accused Garcetti of ignoring “credible sexual assault accusation­s in his prior office,” and called other nomination­s before the committee “absurd.”

Garcetti’s nomination has been dogged by accusation­s that he either knew or should have known of allegation­s that his former senior advisor, Rick Jacobs, was sexually harassing colleagues and making racist comments.

Jacobs has denied the allegation­s, and Garcetti testified at his own December 2021 confirmati­on hearing that he had “never witnessed, nor was it brought to [his] attention, the behavior that’s been alleged.”

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) released a 23-page report last year that found it was “extremely unlikely” that Garcetti didn’t know of Jacobs’ alleged behavior.

Vulnerable Senate Democrats whose seats are up for reelection in red states in 2024 told The Times last week that they had not looked into the nomination and were unsure how they would vote.

But Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she was “impressed” with Garcetti’s knowledge of India after the two met privately last week. She remains undecided but left the door open to casting a key swing vote in his favor.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (DHawaii) has thrown her support behind Garcetti. A majority of senators would need to support his nomination to send him to New Delhi as ambassador. Senate Democrats have a 51-49 advantage over Republican­s.

Earlier this week, Federal Communicat­ions Commission nominee Gigi Sohn withdrew her name after centrist Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) announced he would vote against her.

Also before the panel Wednesday were Richard Verma, nominated for deputy secretary of State for management and resources; Stephanie Sanders Sullivan for representa­tive to the African Union; Michael Alan Ratney for ambassador to Saudi Arabia; Geeta Rao Gupta for ambassador at large on global women’s issues; L. Felice Gorordo for alternate U.S. executive director of the Internatio­nal Bank for Reconstruc­tion and Developmen­t; Richard L.A. Weiner for U.S. director of the European Bank for Reconstruc­tion and Developmen­t; and Leopoldo Martinez Nucete for U.S. executive director of the InterAmeri­can Developmen­t Bank.

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