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GSA offers to brief Congress next week on presidential transition

The General Services Administration (GSA) is offering to provide a briefing to key congressional committees next week on the presidential transition process in response to a demand by House Democrats, who insisted Monday that the agency move much faster in meeting their request.  

The House Oversight and Reform and Appropriations committees sent a letter Thursday to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy demanding a briefing by Monday of this week to explain why she had not signed off on the process, known as ascertainment, to formally recognize Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit On The Money: Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report | GOP targets jobless aid after lackluster April gain MORE as the president-elect and unlock federal resources to begin the transition.

A GSA spokesperson said Monday that the agency's deputy administrator, Allison Brigati, would provide a 30-minute briefing to the House committee chairs and ranking Republican members on Nov. 30.

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The GSA will also provide an in-person briefing that day for staff on the Senate Appropriations, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Environment and Public Works committees. The spokesperson added that staff for the House Appropriations and Oversight and Reform committees are invited to attend the Senate briefing.

But House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyHuffPost reporter: DCCC will help Dems fend off progressive challengers to 'keep them happy' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Chauvin conviction puts renewed focus on police reform Liberal advocacy group stirs debate, discomfort with primary challenges MORE (D-N.Y.), House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue Lowey Progressives fight for leverage amid ever-slimming majority Biden needs to tear down bureaucratic walls and refocus Middle East programs Committee chairs continue their lawmaking decline MORE (D-N.Y.), and Reps. Gerry ConnollyGerald (Gerry) Edward ConnollyBiden offers traditional address in eerie setting Overnight Defense: Top Pentagon nominee advances after Harris casts tie-breaker | Air Force general charged with sexual assault first to face court-martial | House passes bill to limit Saudi arms sales House passes bill limiting arms sales to Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Va.) and Mike QuigleyMichael (Mike) Bruce QuigleyLobbying world Business groups issue both praise and criticism on COVID relief bill's passage On The Money: Biden signals he'll move forward on COVID-19 relief without GOP | Economy adds 49K jobs in January | Minimum wage push sparks Democratic divisions MORE (D-Ill.), who chair the relevant subcommittees, blasted the GSA's offer as insufficient and asked that Murphy brief them on Tuesday.

“We cannot wait yet another week to obtain basic information about your refusal to make the ascertainment determination,” they wrote in a letter to Murphy on Monday. “Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris Administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security.”

More than two weeks since the presidential race was called for Biden by The Associated Press and all major news networks, Murphy has yet to begin the transition process. President TrumpDonald TrumpDemocrats, activists blast reported Trump DOJ effort to get journalists' phone records Arizona secretary of state gets security detail over death threats surrounding election audit Trump admin got phone records of WaPo reporters covering Russia probe: report MORE has refused to concede the election and continues to pursue long-shot legal challenges in states where Biden holds a significant lead.

In last week's letter, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), and Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), who chair the relevant subcommittees, wrote that a briefing would "help inform" whether they would call Murphy and other top GSA officials to testify at a public hearing.

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBiden to meet with 6 GOP senators next week Five takeaways on a surprisingly poor jobs report On The Money: Weekly jobless claims fall to 498K, hitting new post-lockdown low | House to advance appropriations bills in June, July MORE (D-Calif.) indicated last week that Democrats are starting with requesting a briefing, rather than immediately issuing subpoenas or calling hearings, to maintain a "unifying" post-election environment.

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"Let's take our time. Let's give them a chance. And that's why we don't have a hearing, we're just having a briefing,” Pelosi said at a press conference in the Capitol on Friday.

But Pelosi also said the House could take on an expanded role if Trump continues to block the transition.

“I’m not one to show my hand, but, nonetheless, we’re ready. We’re ready,” Pelosi said.

Biden has warned that a delay in the transition process could lead to more deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic and make it more difficult to distribute vaccines early next year.

In the absence of access to federal funds for the transition, Biden's team has been soliciting funds from big and small-dollar donors to help make up the cost.

A growing number of GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate are urging Trump to concede the election and allow the transition to begin, including Sens. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyThe American Rescue Plan was a step toward universal basic income Cheney drama exposes GOP's Trump rifts The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - Florida's restrictive voting bill signed into law MORE (Utah), Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanStrengthen CBP regulations to reduce opioid deaths House panel advances bipartisan retirement savings bill Democrats confront difficult prospects for midterms MORE (Ohio) and Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (Pa.).

Updated at 3:20 p.m.