Jha Washington: A key Congressional panel has voted in favour of the nomination of Los Angeles Mayor Eric M Garcetti to serve as the US Ambassador to India. Besides Garcetti, the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday endorsed 11 other ambassadorial nominations, including of Amy Gutmann to be the US Ambassador to Germany, Donald Armin Blome to be the Ambassador to Pakistan and Joe Donnelly to be the envoy to the Holy See.
The nominations now move to the Senate floor for a final confirmation vote. “It is bipartisan that these vacancies be filled whichever party is in control of the White House,” Ranking Member Jim Risch said.
Senator Bob Menendez, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, rued that over 55 nominees are still pending before the committee and many challenges around the world are awaiting them. “As I have said many times before this committee and on the Senate floor, prolonged vacancies are not in our interests,” he said.
“They undermine our national security, hinder our leadership role abroad and benefit only our adversaries. Turning to the nominees we are considering today, I won’t speak about each of them, but I do want to say that I believe they are all well qualified and deserving of their nominations. I will be voting for them and look forward to their swift confirmation,” Menendez said. Risch voted ‘No’ against the German ambassadorial nominee.
“I’m going to record a ‘no’ vote against Dr Guttman, but it is not personal. I stand ready to work with her and to strengthen our alliance with Germany. I also expect her to engage on efforts to stop construction of the Nord Stream two pipeline. I am a no, not because of her qualifications,” he said. “Certainly, she’s qualified, she’s had a long and successful career, but I think that probably as with her position with the University of Pennsylvania, it really is a poster child for the ongoing and growing malign influence of China and at our institutions of higher learning, the University of Pennsylvania has accepted millions and millions of dollars in donations in contracts from China,” Risch said.
“The issue of foreign influence, particularly that of the Chinese, in US higher education institutions is very important to this committee and we have made efforts and we continue, and I have worked with the chairman on this to pursue efforts to put a stop to this. And it is important. We do so the University of Pennsylvania is a large organization, but I remain troubled,” he said.
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