White House pledges 'smooth' transition to Obama successor

White House pledges 'smooth' transition to Obama successor
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The White House is pledging a “smooth” transition when President Obama leaves office next January. 

Press secretary Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the Obama White House is committed to working closely with the president’s successor, whether that person is a Democrat or Republican, to ensure the government continues to function during what can be a hectic process. 

“We recognize that the previous administration made that a priority,” Earnest told reporters. “The Bush White House did that even though they were coordinating with an incoming Democratic president … We certainly intend to fulfill that precedent.”

The comments come at a time when the White House is expected to ramp up its preparations for turning over power. 

Chief of staff Denis McDonoughDenis Richard McDonoughLive coverage: Justice IG testifies before House on report criticizing FBI Ex-Obama chief of staff: Obama's Russia response was 'watered down' Former Obama officials launch advocacy group aimed at Trump's foreign policy MORE said in January that administration officials would “aggressively” begin transition planning in early spring. 

The House passed legislation on Monday requiring the administration to set up a pair of transition councils within six months of Election Day to help coordinate the exit of hundreds of political appointees from government in the months before Obama’s January departure. 

The legislation passed the Senate last year. But because the House amended it, the upper chamber must approve the updated version before it lands on Obama's desk.

The president has yet to name an official to lead the transition. 

Obama White House officials have repeatedly hailed the transition from the Bush administration as a model. But past transitions have been much rockier. 

Clinton administration officials left $15,000 in damage to the White House, according to a Government Accounting Office report issued in 2002. Aides ripped phone cords out of the walls, vandalized bathrooms and tore “W” keys from computer keyboards as President George W. Bush took office.

Then-GOP candidate Dwight Eisenhower balked at meeting with Truman administration officials to discuss transition planning during the 1952 campaign. 

-- This report was corrected on March 2, 2016 at 11:34 a.m.