Senate Foreign Relations panel approves Garcetti to serve as India ambassador

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti delivers State of the City Address from the under-construction Sixth Street Viaduct on Thursday, April 14, 2022 in Los Angeles, Calif. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via AP, Pool)

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favor of former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to become ambassador to India, sending the nomination to the full Senate for a vote. 

The panel approved the nomination by a vote of 13-8 on Wednesday, with Republican Sens. Todd Young (Ind.) and Bill Hagerty (Tenn.) joining all of the committee’s Democrats in voting in favor of Garcetti. 

President Biden first nominated Garcetti to become ambassador to India in July 2021, and the Foreign Relations Committee initially signed off on him in January 2022. But his nomination has been in limbo for a year following allegations that Garcetti knew about sexual misconduct that one of his former top advisers committed and did not take any action to stop it. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a report on the situation in May, concluding that Garcetti was likely aware of the allegations that his former chief of staff, Rick Jacobs, sexually harassed a Los Angeles police officer. 

Grassley’s office said in a release that the investigation’s findings contradict what Garcetti testified at a nomination hearing before the committee. 

Garcetti said at the time in response to the report that he “strongly” disagreed with its findings and expressed optimism about being confirmed by the full Senate. 

A report that the city of Los Angeles commissioned had previously found that Garcetti had not engaged in any improper conduct in relation to the allegations against Jacobs. 

Garcetti never received a full vote of the Senate before the end of the congressional session in January, and Biden renominated him immediately at the start of the current session. 

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) announced last month that he would place Garcetti’s nomination on hold and delay the committee’s confirmation hearing, saying he would not “turn a blind eye” to “absurd” nominations. 

Politico reported that Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the chairman of the committee, said he is optimistic that the full Senate will confirm Garcetti. 

“He got two Republican votes today. I would think that he would find a pathway forward on the floor to be supported,” he said. “Assume that it’s just a question of getting him time on the floor. Nominations take up time when they have to be voted out through the whole process.” 

Young told Politico that the country has a “national security imperative” to have an ambassador to India in place and the U.S. cannot wait any additional time. 

Spectrum News reported that Garcetti said he is “honored” to be Biden’s nominee for the role and pleased for the committee to have approved him again. 

“I’m grateful to everyone on the Committee for their consideration, and look forward to a floor vote soon, so I can begin serving our critical interests in India,” he said.

Laura Kelly contributed to this report.

— Updated 3:47 p.m.

Tags Bill Hagerty Bob Menendez Chuck Grassley Eric Garcetti India Joe Biden Los Angeles Marco Rubio President Joe Biden Senate Foreign Relations Committee Todd Young Todd Young United States Washington D.C.

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