Garcetti’s nomination as India ambassador advances: ‘no other country that…’
It remains unclear when, or if, the former Los Angeles mayor will be confirmed given the ongoing sexual harassment allegations against one of his former top aides.
A Senate committee on Wednesday voted in favour of former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti's nomination to be US ambassador to India, clearing the way for Senate vote amid questions over his handling of a sexual harassment case. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved Garcetti's nomination by a vote of 13-8, with Republicans Todd Young and Bill Hagerty joining Democrats in favour.
US President Joe Biden nominated Garcetti for the job in July 2021, and the Senate committee initially cleared his name in January 2022. But the bid was stalled as Republicans and some democrats raised questions about his handling of a sexual harassment case from his time as mayor.
Senator Chuck Grassley released a report concluding Garcetti “likely” knew or should have known that a former aide had committed sexual harassment and made racist comments. Garcetti rejected the accusations, and a White House spokesman previously called the GOP-led report a partisan “hit job.”
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.
Asked about the Senate committee vote, state department spokesman Ned Price said that “put simply, the United States needs a confirmed ambassador in India” given the country’s importance.
"We did see the action on the part of the Senate today. We heartily applaud that. US needs a confirmed Ambassador in India. Our team on the ground, including Charge d' Affaires, who have served in the place of an ambassador, have done extraordinary work," said Price.
"It would be in the interests of both of our people to have a confirmed Ambassador in place. We hope that the mayor and soon-to-be Ambassador Eric Garcetti is able to take up that post before long," added Price.
He said that there is no other country around the world that would put itself in a position to have a vacancy open in a strategically important and valuable place like India for 2-plus years.
"Now, we certainly hope that the action that the Senate took today foretells additional action. US needs a confirmed Ambassador in India... There is no other country around the world that would put itself in a position to have a vacancy open in a strategically important and valuable place like India for two-plus years," added Price.
(With inputs from agencies)