Senate Foreign Relations panel approves Garcetti as ambassador to India


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Eric Garcetti | Photo: AP

Washington: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favour of former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to become ambassador of India, sending the nomination to the full Senate for a vote, reported Fox News.

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

"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, incl Charge d' Affaires, who have served in the place of an ambassador, have done extraordinary work," said US State Department Spokesperson Ned 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 & valuable place like India for two-plus years," added Price.

US President Joe 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, reported The Hill.

Senator Chuck Grassley 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, reported The Hill.

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, reported Fox News.

Last year, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmed the nomination of Garcetti to be the US Ambassador to India. However, the nomination needed to be confirmed by a majority of the US Senate.

Jean-Pierre also called the nomination of the Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti as well-qualified and meritorious to serve in the role.

"So we see this as he is well qualified, meritorious to serve in this vital role, and we're hopeful that the full Senate will confirm him properly. Again, he was voted out of committee and unanimously with strong bipartisan support," the White House Press Secretary said in a statement.

ANI

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