Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will be questioned on Tuesday by lawmakers weighing his nomination to become the U.S. ambassador to India.
Garcetti will appear with two other nominees for diplomatic posts at a morning hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Biden in July nominated the 50-year-old mayor fill the job, a critical position in an administration seeking to build alliances in the Indo-Pacific as a bulwark against China. Garcetti’s nomination has dragged on amid a broader effort by Republican senators that has slowed the confirmation process of dozens of would-be diplomats.
The mayor is likely to be asked about his tenure leading the nation’s second largest city, which has been battered by rising rates of violent crime and a homeless crisis. And he is expected to face tough questions from Republicans about his relationship with Hunter Biden, the president’s son. Garcetti attended Hunter Biden’s L.A. art show this fall, raising conflict-of-interest issues around whether people would seek out Biden’s work to align themselves with the president.
Senators may also press him about LAPD officer’s allegations that he was sexually harassed repeatedly by one of the mayor’s top advisors. The officer, who served as Garcetti’s bodyguard for seven years, claimed in a lawsuit filed in July that Garcetti witnessed some of the inappropriate behavior but did not stop it.
Garcetti’s nomination requires a simple majority vote in the evenly divided Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats due to Vice President Kamala Harris’ role casting tie-breaking votes as president of the Senate.
The mayor said last week that he was “honored to have been nominated by President Biden to serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to India, and I am grateful for the chance to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”
Garcetti’s nomination and dozens of others have been held up by Republican senators protesting some of the Biden administration’s national security policies and decisions. Foremost among those blocking nominees is Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who is seeking to pressure Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken to penalize all international firms and individuals involved in the construction of a Russian natural gas pipeline to Germany.
The mayor will appear at the hearing alongside Donald Armin Blome, who has been nominated to lead the embassy in Pakistan, and Amy Gutmann, the president’s pick for ambassador of Germany.