Washington: Former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti won confirmation Wednesday from a divided Senate as the nation’s next ambassador to India, more than a year and a half after he was first nominated by President Joe Biden and after weathering doubts about his truthfulness in a sexual harassment scandal involving a City Hall adviser.
The 52-42 vote gave the administration a long-sought victory with several Republicans breaking party discipline for the vote that they said was critical to fill one of the country’s highest-profile diplomatic posts.
“It’s a national security imperative to immediately have an ambassador in place in India. We can’t afford to wait any longer,” said Indiana Sen. Todd Young, one of the Republican crossover votes.
The day began with uncertain prospects for Garcetti, a two-term, progressive Democrat first nominated to the diplomatic post by Biden in July 2021.
With several Democrats defecting, Garcetti’s fate rested with Republican senators in a chamber often divided along partisan lines. He secured seven GOP votes, more than enough to make up for the Democratic breakaways.
Kansas Republican Roger Marshall said having an ambassador in place in India was vital in advancing
relations among members of the “quad” — the U.S. India, Australia and Japan, which he said puts pressure on China.