General Services Administration Agrees to Brief Congress on Delayed Transition

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General Services Administration
General Services Administration

“We cannot wait yet another week to obtain basic information about your refusal to make the ascertainment determination,” they wrote to Murphy. “Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris Administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security.” The lawmakers asked for a response by 5 p.m. Monday.

Besides Democrats, current and former Republican officials have called on GSA to move forward with the transition and more than 100 national security experts who are Republican or served in Republican administrations have called on President Trump to concede the election.

Once GSA ascertains Biden as the winner of the presidential election his team will be able to meet with agency personnel, obtain briefing materials and access millions of dollars in funds.

While the transition team is staffed with well-connected and experienced officials and is doing its best to mitigate the impact from the lack of formal recognition, briefings on intelligence matters and the novel coronavirus pandemic (specifically vaccine distribution) are lacking. 

The deadlines for states to certify their election results vary before the Electoral College meets on December 14. The inauguration is on Jan

The Biden team has not waited for the formal transition process to begin preparing for the presidency, as Biden announced several Cabinet picks on Monday. But the delay in ascertainment meant that Biden’s team was locked out from government data and could not make contact with federal agencies, nor could it spend $6.3 million in government funding now available for the transition. A Biden official said the most urgent need was for the transition to be given access to Covid-19 data and the vaccine distribution plans.

The Biden team will now have access to additional office space inside the agencies and the ability to use federal resources for background checks on Biden’s White House staff appointments and Cabinet picks.