The Senate is due to vote on Wednesday on the nomination of former Los Angles mayor Eric Garcetti as ambassador to India. But after nearly two years of delay, the outcome is still uncertain.
An unusually high number of absentees among senators and lingering doubts about what Garcetti knew about a former senior official’s alleged sexual harassment added a rare level of uncertainty to the vote.
The Senate is due to vote Wednesday morning on a procedural motion related to the nomination. If successful, a confirmation vote would take place on Wednesday afternoon.
Sen. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, who is responsible for counting votes for Democrats, declined to predict on Tuesday whether the vote would be successful. Democrats didn’t “whip” the vote – or ask each Democratic senator how they intended to vote – “so I don’t presume any results until we” vote, he said. he says.
It is unusual for a high profile appointment to go to the Senate and lose. But the White House and Garcetti have pushed hard for a vote to take place, regardless of the outcome.
It has put a stranglehold around some Democrats who have publicly expressed concern over whether Garcetti knew about the sexual harassment his former aide, Rick Jacobs, allegedly committed.
While at least two Republicans have already backed Garcetti in committee, it’s unclear whether other Republicans will cross the aisle to save a Biden nominee, particularly if Democrats balk.
Additionally, several senators are absent from Washington this week, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), who was recently diagnosed with shingles in San Francisco.
If the vote fails, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (DN.Y.) has the option of reviewing the nomination in the future.
President Biden nominated Garcetti in July 2021. But the nomination faded amid sexual harassment concerns. Garcetti told lawmakers that if he had known about the harassment, he would have done something about it.
While Republicans promised to slow down the nomination, Senate Democrats last year were unwilling to waste valuable time moving it and instead wanted to focus on legislation that could pass the Democratic-controlled House. .
When Republicans took control of the House this year, Senate Democrats pushed back most on the back burner and prioritized moving stranded candidates.
The U.S. Embassy in India has been without an ambassador since January 2021, the longest period in the history of U.S.-India relations that the position has remained vacant.