The head of the General Services Administration must designate Joe Biden as the president-elect before key transition activities can take place, and Democratic lawmakers are growing impatient.
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Three House Democrats are pressing Emily Murphy, the administrator of the General Services Administration, for answers on why she has not released funds for the presidential transition to support the coming presidential administration.
The GSA administrator plays a key official role in the presidential transition. The administrator is responsible for releasing funds to support the president-elect and the transition team and helping the winning ticket, in the event of a change of administration, obtain briefings about inter-agency challenges. The GSA administrator is designated under law with "ascertaining" the election results to set in motion this process, and the process of the transition sending teams into agencies to prepare for the change of administration.
President Donald Trump has yet to concede the defeat and so far Murphy is following suit, declining to sign off on the apparent victory by former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris.
"An ascertainment has not yet been made," GSA spokesperson Pamela Pennington said in a statement.
In a Nov. 9 letter, Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.), Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Dina Titus (D-Nev.) requested a briefing from Murphy on her plans to implement the Presidential Transition Act. Additionally, the trio wants written explanations about why Murphy hasn't acknowledged the "apparent" election outcome and information on whether President Donald Trump or others have directed Murphy to block the launch of transition activities.
"Your actions delaying 'the orderly transfer of the executive power' fly in the face of congressional intent and ignore the will of the people while endangering public health and national security," the legislators wrote.
The advisory board of the nonpartisan Center for Presidential Transition, part of the Partnership for Public Service, urged GSA to launch transition activities immediately.
"While there will be legal disputes requiring adjudication, the outcome is sufficiently clear that the transition process must now begin," four former officials including Josh Bolten, chief of staff under President George W. Bush, said in a Nov. 8 letter.
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