Washington: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Tuesday will appear before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his hearing after his nomination from President Joe Biden to be the country’s Ambassador to India.
After more than five months of Garcetti’s nomination as ambassador to India was announced by the White House, the Committee has finally scheduled the hearing at 10 am and will see the mayor give a statement followed by questions from Senators.
Chaired by Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat lawmaker from New Jersey, the committee is made up of 22 senators, an equal split of Democrats and Republicans. However, Garcetti could face questions about criticism that he and his top aides failed to address allegations of sexual harassment by his former top advisor, which he denies.
Senator Ted Cruz, a Republican committee member, could also make an issue of Garcetti’s relationship with Hunter Biden, the President’s son.
Biden’s nominee to be ambassador to Pakistan, Donald Armin Blome, and Amy Gutmann, the president’s pick for ambassador to Germany, are also scheduled to appear before the panel at Tuesday’s hearing.
Known to be President Biden’s close aide, Garcetti is a political appointee who in the past has served as a co-chair of Biden’s presidential campaign.
In announcing his nomination, the White House emphasised Garcetti’s role in co-founding the bipartisan “Climate Mayors” network and in leading more than 400 US mayors to adopt the Paris Climate Agreement.
According to sources, the White House strongly considers Garcetti to have a steady hand to guide the India-US relationship as Washington sees New Delhi as a key partner in its effort to push back against China’s expanding power and influence.
Garcetti, a Biden loyalist, has served as mayor of Los Angeles since 2013. He has a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University and studied international relations as a Rhodes scholar at Oxford University.
The White House statement released earlier this year said Garcetti had spent 12 years as an intelligence officer in the US Navy Reserve Component, serving under the commander of the US Pacific Fleet and with the Defence Intelligence Agency, before retiring in 2017 as a lieutenant.
If approved by the senate foreign affairs committee Garcetti’s nomination goes to the full Senate. A simple majority is needed to pass but Republicans have stalled the confirmation process by putting a “hold” on nominees.