U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell and fellow House Democrats want to know why the General Services Administration (GSA) has yet to acknowledge the results of the 2020 Presidential Election, a step required before a transfer of power can begin.
More than a week after Election Day and six days after Joe Biden was projected as the winner, President Donald Trump has not conceded, alleging voter fraud and challenging the results via recounts. Biden has 290 electoral college votes as of Nov. 13, 20 more than the 270 needed to win.
Legally, there is no requirement for an outgoing president to make a concession, but the GSA must ascertain the outcome of a decided election in order for the transition between administrations to begin.
Pascrell, along with Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly and Nevada Congresswoman Dina Titus, are demanding an “immediate” explanation from GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, a 2017 Trump appointee.
In a Nov. 9 letter to Murphy, the Democratic lawmakers wrote, “By failing to ascertain Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ resounding victory, you are undermining the urgent need for a prompt and effective transition of power.”
“You are directly responsible for executing the Presidential Transitions Act—and ensuring a smooth, effective and peaceful transition of power during a very difficult time in our nation,” the wrote. “We demand that you provide answers to our questions, immediately release congressionally-appropriated funds for the incoming Biden Administration and cease obstructing the transition to our 46th Presidential Administration.”
In their letter, legislators ask Murphy:
- Why she believes a clear winner is not “apparent” and what steps are being taken to ascertain who the President-elect and Vice President-elect are.
- If President Trump or any members of his administration directed her “to block commencement of the presidential transition.” Additionally, the members of Congress requested Murphy “detail any interactions” she had with White House personnel regarding the transition.
Biden has already named a transition team to help prepare for his inauguration, as well as formed a team to help develop his administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The President-elect named Ron Klain has his chief of staff.
The GSA certification gives the Biden team security clearances, most notably the President’s daily intelligence briefing, the ability to meet with officials at intelligence agencies and more than $6 million in federal funding. Additionally, office space is provided at key agencies to provide a smooth transition of power as well as the ability to talk on secure phones with foreign leaders.
Murphy has not responded to Pascrell’s letter and has told media outlets the GSA has not yet determined that a “winner is clear.”
In the days since Election night, President Trump has been mounting long-shot legal attempts to try to upend results in key battleground states, but they have mostly been dealt setbacks.
Trump officials have stated they are moving forward in preparing for a second Trump administration, including high ranking members such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.
Navarro went as far as to say Nov. 13 that “We are moving forward here at the White House under the assumption that there will be a second Trump term… We think he won that election, and any speculation about what Joe Biden might do I think is moot at this point.”