President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day Business lobby calls for administration to 'pump the brakes' on vaccine mandate Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Afghanistan reckoning shows no signs of stopping MORE’s transition teams have scheduled about 20 meetings with the heads of federal agencies and departments in the day after the General Services Administration (GSA) formally authorized the beginning stages of a government changeover.
The GSA’s chief administrator, Emily Murphy, formally decided to allow the beginnings of a transition to proceed on Monday, almost two weeks after an election in which Biden handily defeated Trump.
The leaders of Biden’s 40 agency review teams — the beachhead groups that parachute into different departments to understand operations and prepare for a new administration to take over — all made contact with the agencies they have been assigned to oversee, a Biden transition official told The Hill.
About half the agencies have already set up meetings with career staffers designated to facilitate the transition. The other half are expected to be scheduled in the days ahead.
The transition official said career staff at federal agencies had been “responsive, receptive and helpful” in the initial contacts. Most of the contacts have been remote, out of concern for the coronavirus pandemic that has begun transmitting more quickly in the Washington metropolitan area.
Federal law requires agencies to prepare for a transition of power even before each presidential election, and Presidents George W. Bush and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day RNC targets McAuliffe, Biden campaign event with mobile billboard The real reason Biden is going to the COP26 climate summit MORE both made preparations for their transitions out of office a point of personal pride.
Trump, perpetually confident in his chances of winning a second term, had made fewer preparations for a successful transition. The administration had tasked Chris Liddell, deputy chief of staff for policy coordination and the director of Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyIn Montana, a knock-down redistricting fight over a single line Trump-backed bills on election audits, illegal voting penalties expected to die in Texas legislature The Memo: Conservatives change their tune on big government MORE’s (R-Utah) transition in the 2012 election, with preparing the transition.
The White House declined to comment.
In a statement Monday, Biden’s transition team welcomed Murphy’s decision to ascertain Biden had won the election, which freed up millions of dollars to pay staff and handle the mammoth workload of shifting thousands of political appointees into the new administration.
“Today’s decision is a needed step to begin tackling the challenges facing our nation, including getting the pandemic under control and our economy back on track,” transition executive director Yohannes Abraham said in the statement. “This final decision is a definitive administrative action to formally begin the transition process with federal agencies.”
Biden himself praised the interactions his team had with top national security officials in the days after the election. In an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt, Biden said his team had begun coordination necessary for the president-elect and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisRNC targets McAuliffe, Biden campaign event with mobile billboard Obama looks to give new momentum to McAuliffe Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech MORE to begin receiving a daily security briefing. He said they have also begun planning for coordination with the coronavirus task force.
“I must say the outreach has been sincere,” Biden told Holt. “It has not been begrudging so far and I don’t expect it to be.”
Morgan Chalfant contributed.