Garcetti’s stalled ambassador nomination sees slight progress

Eric Garcetti’s nomination to be ambassador to India made incremental progress this week as the previous Los Angeles mayor impressed a Republican senator after a personal assembly and received over an undecided Democrat.

Garcetti, whose nomination has languished for a couple of yr and a half, drew reward from a key swing vote Tuesday, giving new life to a nomination that has appeared all however lifeless.

“I had an excellent meeting with Mayor Garcetti yesterday, and I was impressed with his knowledge of India,” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a reasonable Republican, informed The Times in an interview.

An individual aware of Garcetti’s schedule confirmed he was in Washington this week, however gave no additional particulars.

President Biden first nominated Garcetti to the put up in July 2021, however the ex-mayor has confronted criticism over whether or not he knew — or ought to have recognized — that Rick Jacobs, a senior aide, was allegedly sexually harassing colleagues and making racist feedback.

Jacobs has denied the allegations, and Garcetti testified at his affirmation listening to in December 2021 that he “never witnessed, nor was it brought to my attention, the behavior that’s been alleged.”

Republican Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa launched a 23-page report final yr that discovered it was “extremely unlikely” that Garcetti didn’t find out about his aide’s alleged habits.

“We discussed the allegations against his aide and his response to those allegations,” Collins stated. “I still want to review Sen. Grassley’s report, but I don’t think that ‘should have known’ is a fair standard to use. So I haven’t made a final decision, but I was impressed.”

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Collins’ optimistic feedback come after Punchbowl News reported that Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii stated she would vote for Garcetti on the ground. Hirono had beforehand informed The Times she was “still contemplating” how she would vote.

“In this case, it’s not him who did it,” Hirono stated of Garcetti and Jacobs’ alleged habits. “He also testified that he knew nothing. So at this point, I am prepared to vote for the guy.”

The indicators of progress, nevertheless, had been met with a pair of setbacks.

Asked about Garcetti’s nomination at a information convention Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) stated solely, “We’ll have to wait and see what happens in committee.”

Schumer’s assertion got here after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee postponed a gathering Tuesday to debate the nomination of Garcetti and different Biden picks who haven’t been confirmed.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who sits on the committee, has positioned a maintain on Garcetti and a half-dozen different nominations.

“One of these nominees has ignored credible sexual assault accusations in his prior office,” Rubio stated in a press release late final week, alluding to allegations towards Garcetti. “I will not turn a blind eye to these absurd nominations, which will hasten America’s decline.”

When the panel final took up Garcetti’s nomination in January 2022, it was reported favorably to the complete Senate by way of voice vote with no objections. But it by no means reached the ground for a vote, partly on account of considerations that it didn’t have sufficient Democratic assist.

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Since Garcetti’s unique nomination, he accomplished his closing time period as mayor.

The make-up of the Senate has additionally modified, with Senate Democrats increasing their 50-50 majority within the final Congress to a 51-seat majority.

But it stays unclear if Garcetti has the assist of all Democrats.

Democrats are at present governing with a 50-49 majority as Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania continues to obtain therapy at Walter Reed Medical Center for despair. It’s unclear when he’ll return.