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Biden to resend former L.A. Mayor Garcetti's stalled ambassador nomination and others to Senate

The White House is trying to capitalize on Democrats’ expanded Senate majority to advance Garcetti's and other nominations, including his picks to head the IRS and the FAA.
Joe Biden and Eric Garcetti in Los Angeles on May 8, 2019.
Joe Biden and Eric Garcetti in Los Angeles on May 8, 2019. Mario Tama / Getty Images file

President Joe Biden plans to renominate former Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to be ambassador to India and to try to fill other key vacancies, two administration officials said — one of the White House’s first moves to try to capitalize on Democrats’ expanded Senate majority.

Garcetti’s nomination has been stalled for months after a chilly reception from a number of senators, including some Democrats, following allegations that as mayor he ignored complaints of sexual harassment against one of his aides. The allegations were in an investigative report released by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who was among the members who opposed the nomination. Garcetti has denied any wrongdoing.

His nomination and some others lapsed at the end of the previous Congress, leaving the White House to choose whether to submit them again in the new Congress to restart the process.

Biden also plans to renominate his picks for the Federal Aviation Administration, Phil Washington, and the IRS, Danny Werfel, an administration official said.

The Wall Street Journal first reported Biden’s plans.

Asked last month about Garcetti’s nomination, Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the Foreign Relations Committee chair, wouldn’t say whether he wanted the former mayor to be renominated.

“That’s up to the White House,” he said. “They have to make that decision.”

Menendez also said he didn’t know whether Garcetti had the votes to be confirmed.

Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said around the same time that it “may be” time to pick a different nominee given the headwinds Garcetti faces.

“He has a very impressive portfolio as it relates to India," Young said. "He has his extensive knowledge about the country and would be well-equipped in so many ways to represent the administration there. But more important than anything else is just getting someone trusted by the president in that position. Too much time has passed.”

India, a key U.S. ally, has been without a U.S. ambassador since Biden took office. Both countries are part of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, known as the Quad, which also includes Australia and Japan. India also is scheduled to host this year's summit of the Group of 20 leading rich and developing nations.