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Manufacturers association calls on GSA to begin transition process

The National Association of Manufacturers called on the General Services Administration (GSA) to begin the transition of power in a statement Wednesday, urging the importance of addressing the economic crisis stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The major business group is requesting GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, who was appointed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Sunday shows preview: US health officials brace for post-holiday COVID-19 surge MORE, to sign the letter of ascertainment, which would recognize Joe BidenJoe BidenPennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Biden looks to career officials to restore trust, morale in government agencies Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force MORE as president-elect. 

Biden was projected to become the president-elect more than one week ago, but Trump and other officials, including Murphy, have declined to acknowledge Biden’s win. Trump has refused to concede, and his campaign has filed several lawsuits in swing states contesting the vote.

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The manufacturers association released a joint statement from five of its leaders appealing for the administrator to allow the transition process to begin so that the U.S. can deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and the connected economic crisis. 

“While we understand and respect the court challenges that are a part of our democratic process, it’s imperative that our nation has a President and advisors who are fully prepared to lead our nation on Inauguration Day given the magnitude of the challenges ahead and the threats to our economic and national security, and most importantly, to the public health,” the statement reads.

“It is highly appropriate that the Trump administration allow key individuals from the Biden team to access critical government personnel and information now,” it continues. 

Without the GSA’s ascertainment of Biden as president-elect, Biden does not have access to government officials, national security briefings or funding for salaries and travel.

The trade group's leadership specifically requested the Trump administration “work cooperatively” with Biden and his team.

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“To ensure manufacturers can continue to work seamlessly with the federal government—no matter who is President on January 20—we call on the administrator of the General Services Administration to sign the letter of ascertainment immediately so that this consistent process in American democracy can begin and the exchange of critical information can commence,” the statement said.

“There is no time to waste nor room for error. Manufacturers have been leading throughout these crises, and we know what is at stake: American lives and livelihoods,” it concludes.

The call for the transition to begin comes as Trump has falsely claimed he won the election while promoting unfounded claims of voter fraud, specifically associated with mail-in ballots.

Murphy, whom Trump appointed as GSA administrator, has refused to recognize Biden as the president-elect, although he is ahead by tens of thousands of votes in swing states and is expected to win the Electoral College with 306 electoral votes, in excess of the 270 needed.

Biden said on Wednesday that the GSA should declare him the “apparent winner” of the 2020 race to ensure a smooth transition between presidents.

“One of the problems we’re having now is the failure of the administration to recognize,” he said. “The law says that the General Services Administration has a person who recognizes who the winner is, and then they have access to all the data and information the government possesses to be prepared. It doesn’t require there to be an absolute winner. It says the apparent winner.”