Joe Biden Renominates Eric Garcetti As Ambassador To India, Gigi Sohn To FCC; White House Seeks To Revive Stalled Past Picks



President Joe Biden has renominated Eric Garcetti as U.S. ambassador to India, after the former Los Angeles mayor’s nomination failed to make the Senate floor last year.

Garcetti was among a series of nominees who will get restarts in the new Congress.

Biden also renominated Gigi Sohn to serve as the fifth commissioner on the FCC. Her nomination stalled out after the Senate Commerce Committee deadlocked. Republicans opposed her selection, amid opposition from commentators like Tucker Carlson and The Wall Street Journal editorial board, while industry lobbyists worked to stymie her nomination.

The difference for all of Biden’s nominations will be the Democrats’ expanded 51-49 majority, assuming that Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema caucuses with the Democrats after switching her affiliation to independent. That one vote difference from the 50-50 split in the last Congress could make it easier to advance nominees through committees and to the floor.

Garcetti’s nomination sailed through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last year. But it was delayed throughout the year, as Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) produced a Senate report that Garcetti “likely knew or should have known” about alleged sexual harassment by a former top aide, Rick Jacobs, despite the Los Angeles mayor’s denial that he was aware of such conduct. The report was triggered by claims made by Garcetti’s former communications director, Naomi Seligman, who was being represented by Whistleblower Aid.

Libby Lu, the CEO of Whistleblower Aid, said in a statement that Garcetti’s renomination was a “grave disservice to victims and survivors of workplace sexual harassment who have documented how, as mayor of Los Angeles, he “enabled persistent abuse by his top aide and then lied about it under oath during his Senate confirmation hearing.”

Garcetti has insisted he was not aware of the claims against Jacobs, who also has denied the harassment allegations.

The FCC has been deadlocked 2-2 as Sohn’s nomination has been pending. That has kept the FCC from acting on some potentially contentious issues like net neutrality.

In a statement, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said, “Gigi is a knowledgeable nominee with a long record of commitment to the issues before the FCC and I congratulate her on nomination as a Commissioner at the agency.  I look forward to the day we have a full complement of five commissioners.”