Pressure mounts on federal agency to affirm Biden victory

Source: Politico | November 8, 2020 | Alex Thompson

Until the General Services Administration determines Biden is the president-elect, his transition team cannot access government funds or communicate with federal agencies.

Former Republican White House officials and veterans of past presidential transition are calling for the government to begin the formal transfer of power from President Donald Trump to President-elect Joe Biden.

“While there will be legal disputes requiring adjudication, the outcome is sufficiently clear that the transition process must now begin,” the nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition wrote in a letter exclusively obtained by POLITICO. The letter is signed by Democratic and Republican experts in transitions, including George W. Bush’s former chief of staff Josh Bolten and the former Republican Governor of Utah Mike Leavitt. The letter was also signed by Bill Clinton’s first chief of staff Thomas (Mack) McLarty and Barack Obama’s Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

“We urge the Trump administration to immediately begin the post-election transition process and the Biden team to take full advantage of the resources available under the Presidential Transition Act,” they wrote.

The letter raises the pressure on the General Services Administration, whose administrator, Emily Murphy, has resisted affirming that Biden won the election. In a statement released Saturday, the agency said, “an ascertainment has not yet been made. GSA and its Administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law.” The agency did not comment further on Sunday.

Until Murphy ascertains that Biden is the president-elect, the Biden transition cannot access government funds or communicate with the federal agencies they will be staffing. Experts say that the delay could hinder the Biden effort. “Every day counts in a transition, this year more than any transition since 1932,” said David Marchick, the director of the Center for Presidential Transition.

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