Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s nomination as U.S. Ambassador to India cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.
Garcetti was among a series of ambassadors and other foreign affairs nominees approved en bloc, meaning the committee approved them in full. Although individual senators raised public objections to some of the nominees, none did to Garcetti’s selection.
The nomination now moves to the full Senate. A vote has yet to be scheduled.
If Garcetti is confirmed, the City Council could then appoint a person to fill the position through the end of his term, which runs through Dec. 11. It also could call a special election to fill the vacancy through the end of the term, and appoint someone to hold the office temporarily until that special election’s results are certified.
Last month, Garcetti faced a relatively brisk confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill. He responded to one question over allegations that he was aware that one of his top advisers engaged in a pattern of sexual harassment but did not take action to stop it.
Last year, a Los Angeles Police Department officer sued the city, alleging that the mayor witnessed the harassment on the part of Rick Jacobs, yet did not take action. New York magazine ran an extensive piece earlier this month in which four people who worked with Garcetti and Jacobs alleged that the mayor was aware of his adviser’s behavior.
Jacobs has denied the claims, and Garcetti has previously denied that he witnessed harassment.
“I want to say unequivocally that I never witnessed, nor was it brought to my attention, the behavior that has been alleged,” Garcetti said at the hearing. “And I also want to assure you if it had been, I would have immediately taken action to stop that.”
At the hearing, Garcetti also was asked about how he would deal with advance human rights in India given concerns that an immigration law discriminates against Muslims.
“If confirmed, I will actively raise these issues,” Garcetti said. “I’ll raise them with humility. It is a two way street on these issues, but I intend to directly engage with civil society. There are groups that are actively fighting for the human rights of people on the ground in India that will get direct engagement with me.”
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