Eric Garcetti is qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to India, the White House has said after a Congressional committee vote on his nomination was postponed till March 8, 2023 following a hold placed by a top Republican Senator.
Mr. Garcetti, 52, a former Mayor of Los Angeles, was nominated by President Joe Biden for U.S. Ambassador to India in July 2021. His nomination was not brought to the Senate floor for a vote as the ruling Democratic Party did not have enough support to get him through.
The Republicans and some members of Mr. Garcetti’s own party were opposed to his nomination because of the allegations of sexual misconduct by some of the staffers in the Mayor’s office.
Though the hold on his nomination had been lifted, he could not be confirmed by the last Congress.
Mr. Biden renominated Mr. Garcetti to the same position in January 2023. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez scheduled a vote on his nomination on February 28. However, Republican Senator Marco Rubio placed a hold on his nomination. The vote by the committee has now been postponed till March 8.
“One of these nominees has ignored credible sexual assault accusations in his prior office,” said Mr. Rubio. “I will not turn a blind eye to these absurd nominations, which will hasten America’s decline,” he added.
The White House on March 1, however, stood behind Mr. Garcetti.
“Eric Garcetti was voted out in a bipartisan way out of Senate Foreign Relations Committee. So, clearly, he has had bipartisan support, which is very important in this process. We encourage and look forward to the Senate moving forward with his nomination on the floor,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Wednesday at her daily news conference.
“We think that Eric Garcetti is qualified to serve this vital role. That’s why the President nominated him, right? The President nominated him because he thought he had the experience to be the US ambassador to India,” Ms. Jean-Pierre said.
“He received bipartisan support going out of committee. And we would like to see the Senate move him forward and to continue getting that support,” she said in response to a question.
The position of U.S. Ambassador to India has been pending for more than two years now; the longest period of a U.S. ambassador not being confirmed.