- Almost six months after he was picked by Biden, the Los Angeles mayor now awaits confirmation by a full Senate.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’ is one step closer to being confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to India. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Garcetti’s nomination today, after which it’ll head to a full Senate where it requires a simple majority vote.
President Biden nominated Garrett last July, but the hearing process got delayed, leaving the mayor in limbo. The mayor endorsed Biden in the 2020 election and served as co-chair of his presidential campaign, and the India nomination is widely seen as a political favor to Garcetti.
Axios said at the time that Biden’s pick for U.S. ambassador to India is significant given that the administration has signaled India will play a key role in helping to counter China’s ambitions in the Indo-Pacific region. Last March, the president held his first virtual leader’s summit with members of the so-called Quad, including Japan, India, Australia and the United States, “to underscore his commitment to the region’s democracies.”
Earlier this month, the president renominated Garcetti as the Ambassador to India.
The position of U.S. ambassador to India is lying vacant since Biden assumed office on Jan. 20, 2021. However, in May, Biden appointed Daniel B.Smith as the U.S. Charge d’Affaires to India. Ken Juster was the last U.S. ambassador to the country.
Garcetti won reelection in March of 2017 for a five-and-a-half-year term. He is term-limited, and the election for his successor is scheduled for fall 2022. “If he is confirmed by the Senate, the Los Angeles City Council could name an interim mayor to fill the job until a new mayor is elected,” the Los Angeles Times reported
During his Senate confirmation hearing on Dec. 14, he faced “a relatively brisk confirmation,” news reports said. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked Garcetti about the alleged sexual harassment committed by Garcetti’s former adviser Rick Jacobs, which Garcetti says he had never witnessed. Jacobs has been accused in a lawsuit filed by a Los Angeles Police Department officer.
Garcetti’s hearing was far less turbulent than other recent confirmation sessions, as Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee who has challenged several other Biden nominees, was not present. He and other Senate Republicans have been holding up Biden’s nominees, creating a bottleneck of applications on Capitol Hill.