Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is in limbo. He was picked by President Joe Biden to be U.S. ambassador to India three months ago, but his nomination hasn’t been considered yet in Washington, D.C.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other Senate Republicans are said to be delaying Biden’s nominees on Capitol Hill.
Max Stier, president and chief executive officer of Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit that advocates for better governance, likened the nomination process to a “massive traffic jam.”
“If you’re betting right now, Garcetti is going to be in confirmation purgatory for a while,” Stier said, according to Yahoo News.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, several longtime aides have already left the mayor’s office, which has seen about a 15% drop in staff compared with July 2020, according to city employee lists. On Friday, a public affairs firm announced that it had hired Deputy Mayor Breelyn Pete, Garcetti’s top aide on legislative and external affairs.
Garcetti was named in July as Biden’s nominee to be ambassador to India. The mayor’s second term ends in December 2022.
He said last week that he expects his nomination to have a hearing in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations before the end of the year, but he didn’t know when the full Senate would take it up, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Senate has confirmed only two of Biden’s 64 nominees for ambassador posts, according to the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. An incoming president can pick 4,000 political appointees, including 1,200 appointees who require Senate confirmation.
Ambassador positions aren’t prioritized, Stier said, and the Senate has competing demands.
Garcetti has met with some senators who serve on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, including Cruz, the Los Angeles Times reported. He has traveled to D.C. four times since the White House announced his nomination, according to his office, including a trip that involved attending training for the ambassador post.
“Mentally, physically he’s moved on,” said Rick Taylor, a Los Angeles political strategist. “Most people I talk to think he’s a little disconnected from the day-to-day work of being the mayor, which is understandable.”
Garcetti spokesman Alex Comisar countered that notion by pointing to the mayor’s schedule last week, which included events focused on homeless housing, clean energy, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, and a free public transportation program for students.
Garcetti also met with Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge to advocate for L.A. during one of his recent trips, a mayoral aide said. He’s also had conversations with other top federal officials about L.A. priorities while in D.C.
Garcetti and Biden have close ties. The mayor was one of four people chosen to be on a committee to select Biden’s vice presidential running mate. Kamala Harris, then a senator from California, was ultimately chosen.
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