Biden’s controversial nominee to be ambassador to India cleared a major hurdle in the Senate on Wednesday with the help of seven Republicans, putting the embattled former Los Angeles mayor on track to earn final confirmation more than 600 days since he was first nominated.
Garcetti had to earn a simple majority vote to end floor debate on his nomination, and seven Republicans helped him over the line: Bill Cassidy, La.; Roger Marshall, Kan.; Lindsey Graham, S.C.; Steve Daines, Mont.; Susan Collins, Maine; Bill Hagerty, Tenn.; and Todd Young, Ind. The Senate voted to end debate 52-42, making it all but assured that the votes are there for his final confirmation vote.
Democrats Mark Kelly, D-Ariz., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, voted with 39 Republicans against Garcetti.
Garcetti became controversial after reports surfaced that he ignored sexual harassment allegations against his former chief of staff in Los Angeles. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., placed a hold on the nomination last month, and said Garcetti “has ignored credible sexual assault accusations in his prior office.”
SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS NOT A DETERRENT TO WH NOMINATION OF FORMER LA MAYOR GARCETTI
President Biden first nominated Garcetti in July 2021. After clearing his first committee hurdle, Garcetti failed to earn a full Senate vote after new revelations about a sexual harassment lawsuit involving his former top adviser came to light.
Those accusations are highlighted in a pending lawsuit against Rick Jacobs, Garcetti’s former chief of staff. Jacobs is being accused of sexual harassment in the form of inappropriate comments, unwanted kissing and touching, and sexual advances against a male LAPD officer assigned to Garcetti’s security detail, a male reporter and other whistleblowers.
LA MAYOR GARCETTI ‘LIKELY KNEW’ OF ‘WIDESPREAD’ SEXUAL HARASSMENT, RACIST REMARKS BY EX-ADVISER: SENATE REPORT
RUBIO PUTS HOLD ON BIDEN NOMINEE ERIC GARCETTI, CITING SEXUAL HARASSMENT SCANDAL
Senior Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa opened an investigation last year into the matter and conducted interviews with 15 witnesses and examined 26 depositions and other documentary evidence, including emails and text messages. Grassley’s investigative staff concluded that Garcetti “likely knew, or should have known, that his former senior adviser was sexually harassing and making racist remarks toward multiple individuals.”
“Nobody is that brazen to engage in this type of outrageous behavior against other people unless they know that they have a powerful enabler protecting them. Based on the facts and the evidence, that enabler is Mayor Eric Garcetti,” Grassley said last year.
The White House called that investigation a “hit job” and said President Biden has maintained full support in his nominee who is “well qualified to serve in this vital role.”
One Republican said it was critical for the Senate to confirm an ambassador to India after nearly two years of delay.
“For more than two years, the Biden administration and Senate Democrats have failed to get a Senate-confirmed Ambassador to India — the world’s largest democracy, a rising economic power, and one of our most important strategic partners in the Indo-Pacific,” said Sen. Hagerty. “As a former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, I know firsthand that this is a critical U.S. diplomatic position.”