The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations (SCFR) has scheduled a nomination hearing later this month for former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and six other nominees to various positions. This hearing will pave the way for a full Senate vote in the new Congress. Garcetti was renominated for the position in January after his first nomination lapsed in 2021.
As the Democrats now have a slim majority in Congress, his new nomination has a higher chance of going through. “Having a senior official on the ground that represents the President makes a big difference,” said Indiaspora member and former US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, when commenting on the importance of getting a new ambassador chosen as soon as possible.
President Biden had renominated former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be U.S. ambassador to India on in January this year after Garcetti’s confirmation failed to advance through the U.S. Senate last year.
The White House also resubmitted nominations for roughly 60 people for jobs in key administrative posts or national security positions, as well as 25 judicial nominees who failed to win confirmation in 2022. Candidates must be renominated at the start of each new Congress.
Biden’s support for Garcetti, who was also renominated for the position last year, is notable given how long the nomination has lingered in Washington. The vacant diplomatic post comes as Biden looks to allies to help contain the rise of China and shore up support for Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also host the G-20 leaders in New Delhi in September.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that Garcetti is “well-qualified” for the “vital role.” “We’re hopeful that the Senate will confirm him promptly,” Jean-Pierre said.
“I am grateful for the president’s confidence, and strong support on both sides of the aisle in the Senate,” Garcetti said. “I look forward to completing this process, so that I can begin serving in India and advancing this critical partnership as quickly as possible.”
Garcetti was announced as the White House pick for India in July 2021, but a vote on the appointment has never been scheduled following some Democratic senators’ concerns over sexual harassment allegations leveled against former Garcetti aide Rick Jacobs. At the same time, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) has placed a hold on Garcetti’s nomination.
The former mayor has waited far longer for confirmation — more than 500 days — than all others whom Biden has designated to be ambassadors, according to the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service.