House committee chairs demand briefing from GSA head on presidential transition

House committee chairs demand briefing from GSA head on presidential transition
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The Democratic chairwomen of two House committees demanded on Thursday that the head of the General Services Administration provide a briefing on the refusal to formally begin the presidential transition process while President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE continues to avoid acknowledging that he lost the election.

In a letter to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyGovernment watchdog finds federal cybersecurity has 'regressed' in recent years Lawmakers line up behind potential cyber breach notification legislation DeJoy apologizes for mail delays while defending Postal Service changes MORE (D-N.Y.) and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita LoweyNita Sue LoweyTrump seeks to freeze .4 billion of programs in final week of presidency This week: Trump's grip on Hill allies faces test Trump signs .3T relief, spending package MORE (D-N.Y.) asked for a bipartisan briefing by Monday on why she had not signed off on a key document officially that would recognize Joe BidenJoe BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report MORE as president-elect and unlock funding for activities involved in the transition.

Maloney and Lowey said that the briefing would "help inform" whether they would call Murphy and other top GSA officials to testify at a public hearing.

"We have been extremely patient, but we can wait no longer. As GSA Administrator, it is your responsibility to follow the law and assure the safety and well-being of the United States and its people—not to submit to political pressure to violate the law and risk the consequences," they wrote.

"Your actions in blocking transition activities required under the law are having grave effects, including undermining the orderly transfer of power, impairing the incoming Administration’s ability to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, hampering its ability to address our nation’s dire economic crisis, and endangering our national security."

Biden has warned that the delay in formally beginning the transition could hamper his administration’s efforts to distribute a vaccine. Biden also currently does not have access to government-provided intelligence briefings that are customary for presidents-elect.

Trump — backed by most Republicans on Capitol Hill — has yet to acknowledge Biden as the president-elect and is pursuing legal challenges in closely-contested states that he lost. Biden is projected to have won 306 electoral votes over Trump's 232.

The Trump campaign has alleged voter fraud and irregularities but has been unable to substantiate its claims in court.

Trump has invited some of Michigan's top Republicans to the White House and reached out to officials in Wayne County who had initially sought this week to prevent certification of votes. Biden is ahead in Michigan by more than 140,000 votes.

Biden is ramping up pressure on Trump to concede the election, which news outlets called nearly two weeks ago.

“It’s hard to fathom how this man thinks,” Biden said Thursday. “I’m confident he knows he hasn’t won and can’t win, and we’ll be sworn in on Jan. 20. It’s just outrageous what he’s doing.”