Garcetti’s diplomatic effort is shrouded in scandal, clearing the final hurdle

Wednesday’s vote comes nearly two years after Biden tapped Garcetti as US ambassador to India. Hours before the first Senate call, the outcome was uncertain, a rarity on the floor these days. Garcetti’s Senate supporters remained hopeful he would be confirmed this week, despite some Democrats privately predicting a tight vote.

“I don’t think, on the Dems or our side, we know where every vote is,” Minority Whip John Thune (RSD) said ahead of the poll.

The Foreign Affairs Committee approved Garcetti’s nomination for a second term last week, with the support of two Senate Republicans: Todd Young Indiana and Bill Haggerty Tennessee. Garcetti lost a handful of Democratic votes, however, leaving his fate in the hands of the Senate GOP — an unusual position for a Biden candidate.

Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Masi Hirono (D-Hawaii) all voted against advancing Garcetti.

Biden originally nominated Garcetti in July 2021, and the Foreign Relations Committee held confirmation hearings in December 2021. But Garcetti’s appointment was later halted amid Jacobs’ allegations. Biden renominated him in January. Garcetti and the White House pushed hard for a final confirmation, and his parents even hired a lobbyist.

“Finally, when the president reconsidered him, a decision was made that he was eligible to vote,” the Senate Majority Whip noted. Dick Turbin (D-Ill.).

Last year, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a statement about the allegations, saying “Mayor Garcetti had personal knowledge of or should have known about the sexual harassment.” However, the White House has continued to support Garcetti, one of Biden’s early supporters in the 2020 presidential race.

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“It’s an opportunity for people who say they’re going to trust the victims to vote accordingly, and if they don’t, that’s a hypocritical situation,” Grassley said.

Sen. Cory Booker (DN.J.), a staunch Garcetti ally, defended him on Tuesday, describing him as “a truly qualified candidate whose allegations against him are belied by the facts.”

Jourdain Carney and Anthony Adragna contributed to this report.

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