Senate panel advances Garcetti’s nomination to be ambassador to India

Former Mayor Eric Garcetti
Former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination for ambassador has been dogged by accusations of sexual harassment in his office.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

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

Garcetti’s 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 votes 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.


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

Two Republicans voted in favor of Garcetti on Wednesday, which bodes well for his final confirmation, according to Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who chairs the committee.

“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.”

Wednesday’s business meeting was postponed more than 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 had 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 that his former senior advisor, Rick Jacobs, was allegedly sexually harassing colleagues and making racist comments.


Jacobs has denied the allegations, and Garcetti testified at his confirmation hearing in December 2021 that he “never witnessed, nor was it brought to my 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 about his aide’s alleged behavior.

Vulnerable Senate Democrats whose seats are up for reelection in red states in 2024 told The Times last week that they hadn’t 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 (D-Hawaii) threw her support behind Garcetti.

Senate Democrats have a 51-49 majority over Republicans, and a majority of senators would need to support Garcetti’s nomination to send him to New Delhi as the U.S. ambassador to India.


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

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

Times staff writer Dakota Smith contributed to this report.