- President-elect Joe Biden’s team is making a fundraising push to small-dollar donors to fund its own transition efforts, according to CNN.
- The General Services Administration (GSA) must “ascertain” that Biden is the president-elect, which agency head Emily Murphy has so far refused to acknowledge.
- The refusal to certify Biden’s win is denying the transition team roughly $US10 million in federal funding, per CNN.
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President-elect Joe Biden’s team is making a fundraising push to small-dollar donors to fund its own transition efforts, which comes as the administration of President Donald Trump still refuses to acknowledge Biden’s election win, according to CNN.
The General Services Administration (GSA), which is tasked with signing off on a legal certification that would enable communication between Biden’s team and government staffers and make millions of dollars available for Biden, has so far refused to budge on taking any action. Democrats say that the inaction is jeopardizing Biden’s ability to immediately handle issues like the coronavirus pandemic and stimulus negotiations once he takes office in January 2021.
According to Politico, the GSA is required to “ascertain” Biden’s win before the federal government will provide roughly $US10 million in funding for the transition. Emily Murphy, the Trump-appointed agency head, has come under fire in recent days for not starting the transition process.
In an email to campaign supporters, the transition team highlighted the ramifications of the GSA’s refusal to declare Biden as the president-elect.
“The Administrator of the General Services Administration is refusing to sign a document called the ascertainment letter, which recognises the apparent winner of the election, allows the incoming president-elect’s team to begin the process of transition of power, and green-lights the coordination of the government with the incoming team,” the transition said. “This is all because Donald Trump’s team would rather stick with partisan politics than do what’s right.”
The transition team reiterated that it would continue to work, but that additional funds were critical to their efforts.
“We want to be clear: the Biden-Harris transition team will continue to steadily move forward,” the transition added. “But, without ascertainment, we need to fund the transition ourselves, and that’s why we’re reaching out to you today.”
Government funding for Biden’s team would fulfil critical transition functions, including paying staffers and agency review teams.
The transition team began private fundraising efforts in June, reportedly raising more than $US10 million so far, according to CNN. However, Friday’s solicitation email was aimed at small-dollar donors.
“Grassroots supporters like you made a Joe Biden presidency possible,” the email read. “Now we are counting on you once again to power us through this critical moment.”
While the Biden team has been considering legal options to force the Trump administration to begin the transition process, it remains unclear if that is an avenue they will actually pursue.
“The Biden-Harris transition has been planning for months for all possible scenarios,” a transition official said. “While we wait for the GSA Administrator to uphold the will of the people and be a proper steward of taxpayer resources, we will execute on contingency plans, including continuing to solicit private funds to support transition planning. The nation faces too many challenges to not have a fully funded and smooth transition to prepare the President-elect and Vice President-elect to govern on Day One.”
Yohannes Abraham, a Biden transition advisor and the former Chief of Staff of the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs during the Obama administration, said that the lack of progress with the transition process could have serious consequences.
“This isn’t a game of who gets to talk to whom,” he said. “Our inability to start the informal agency review process has the potential to have real impacts across the country. There’s no replacing the real-time information that can only come from the post-ascertainment environment that we should be in right now.”
Trump is currently hatching far-fetched plans to overturn his election loss to Biden, with his campaign continuing to pursue debunked election fraud claims in court, as well as pushing for mass disenfranchisement by having GOP-appointed electors override Biden’s wins in Michigan and Pennsylvania.