The Senate on Wednesday confirmed former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) to become the next U.S. ambassador to India, with Republicans crossing the aisle to help push him over the finish.
The Senate voted 52-42, with seven Republicans voting in favor of confirming him to the vacant post as the top diplomat with one of the U.S.’s top strategic partners.
The final vote followed a dramatic procedural vote that came down to the wire as some Democrats declared last-minute opposition while a handful of Republicans announced votes for Garcetti. Just an hour before the procedural vote, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) wasn’t sure how it would turn out.
The same seven Senate Republicans voted to advance Garcetti’s nomination and ultimately confirm him: Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Susan Collins (Maine), Steve Daines (Mont.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Bill Hagerty (Tenn.), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Todd Young (Ind.).
Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) voted alongside 39 Republicans against the nod. Six senators didn’t vote.
“The United States-India relationship is extremely important, and it’s a very good thing we now have an ambassador,” Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said following the cloture vote.
The White House tapped Garcetti for the post in July 2021, but his nomination has been held up due to questions surrounding his handling of sexual harassment claims against an aide during his time as mayor. Garcetti has repeatedly denied that he had any knowledge of the allegations.
One former top Garcetti aide on Tuesday said that he is “unfit” to fill the ambassadorship.
“He is unfit to become an ambassador or really to hold public office anywhere in this country or this world,” Naomi Seligman, Garcetti’s former communications director, told CNN.
President Biden had to renominate him to the post earlier this year after his initial nomination expired at the end of the 117th Congress.
When pressed about his nomination last week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that Garcetti is “well qualified to serve in this vital role.”
“The president nominated him because he thought he had the experience to be the U.S. ambassador to India,” Jean-Pierre said.
Updated at 3:10 p.m.