Nearly two years after President Joe Biden tapped him to become US ambassador to India, Eric Garcetti was confirmed for the post by the US Senate on Wednesday, amid questions about support from his own party and fallout from a sexual harassment scandal involving a former top adviser.
The Senate voted 52-42 advancing the former Los Angeles mayor's nomination that caps off months of limbo for Garcetti.
The vote unfolded with some suspense, as it wasn't clear the progressive Democrat would have enough support to advance. But he was able to win over a handful of Republican senators, putting him over the top. A final vote was scheduled for later in the day.
Earlier, Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted in favour of the former Los Angeles Mayor to become the ambassador of India. The panel approved the nomination by a vote of 13-8, with Republican Senators Todd Young and Bill Hagerty joining all of the committee's Democrats in voting in favour of Garcetti.
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 that in response to the report, 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.
White House Press Secretary 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)