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Senate Republicans say Joe Biden doesn't need immediate access to government to begin transition of power
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Senate Republicans say Joe Biden doesn't need immediate access to government to begin transition of power

Doesn't need formal authority from the General Services Administration to begin transition

Senate Republicans announced Tuesday that former Vice President Joe Biden does not need authority from the General Services Administration to formally begin the transition of power, according to reporting from The Hill.

What are the details?

On Monday, GSA Administrator Emily Murphy declined to sign a letter allowing Biden's transition team to formally begin working following last week's election.

The Washington Post points out the letter — when drafted and signed — "amounts to a formal declaration by the federal government, outside of the media, of the winner of the presidential race."

At the time of this reporting, President Donald Trump has yet to concede the election.

The outlet reports that Murphy — a Trump appointee — has yet to issue a letter of ascertainment to permit Biden's team to officially and formally begin the transfer of power that occurs between the incumbent president and president-elect.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the steps "will be taken at the appropriate time."

"I don't think anything that's occurred so far interrupts an ordinary process of moving through the various steps that I indicated, and allowing, if there is a new administration, to work through the transition. All of these steps will be taken at the appropriate time," he told reporters.

The outlet notes that it is "customary for the declared winner of the presidential election ... to be given advanced access to government funds and facilities to begin preparing for their first 100 days in office."

The situation is similar to what took place in 2000 following former President George W. Bush's win against former Vice President Al Gore after the conclusion of former President Bill Clinton's time in office.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who is the Senate Rules Committee Chairman, added, "I think the GSA addition to the process is relatively new. I know that George W. Bush 20 years ago didn't get any money until late in December. There's nothing that stops a transition effort from doing anything they need to do and if it turns out that the president-elect is the president-elect, eventually they'll have that help."

He added, "We had transitions long before we gave elected presidents money to have a transition with. If Joe Biden doesn't know what he's doing now in a way that lets him move forward with the transition, he would never know what he's doing. He's been doing this for 50 years. They can do everything that they need to be doing from the point of a transition without the GSA making a determination quicker than the administration thinks it should."

What did the Biden campaign say?

In a statement to the Post, a Biden transition spokesperson said, "Now that the election has been independently called for Joe Biden, we look forward to the GSA Administrator quickly ascertaining Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the President-elect and Vice President-elect. America's national security and economic interests depend on the federal government signaling clearly and swiftly that the United States government will respect the will of the American people and engage in a smooth and peaceful transfer of power."

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