Members of Joe Biden’s transition team have begun to contact staff of the congressional appropriations committees for information about federal agencies as President Donald Trump continues to block the president-elect’s efforts to build an administration, people familiar with the meetings said.
Because the General Services Administration will not ascertain the results of the election, the incoming administration cannot communicate with federal agencies or begin the transfer of power that happens with every previous new president. Biden is also unable to receive the full national security briefings he is entitled to.
The transition team has been finding workarounds. They have been in contact with state and local leaders and private companies. Later Thursday, Biden is meeting virtually with some of the nation’s governors and plans to speak afterward.
The president, meanwhile, is standing by his unfounded claims that widespread fraud invalidate the election and insisting he will prevail.
A House Democratic aide said that Biden’s transition aides will meet with staff from the House Appropriations Committee, which deals with all federal agencies and their budgets. And a Senate Democratic aide said that phone calls have already taken place between the Senate Appropriations Committee staff and Biden aides.
Business groups are joining the list of those clamoring for the presidential transition to begin. US Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Tom Donohue, the National Association of Manufacturers and Joshua Bolten, president of Business Roundtable trade group for CEOs have all said it is time for the process to move forward.
The contacts with lawmakers’ staff come as the Trump White House is continuing to push forward with a fiscal 2022 budget proposal on the assumon that Trump will have a second term, and as the appropriations committees are attemng to finish fiscal 2021 funding bills by a Dec. 11 deadline.
Biden’s transition team assembled agency review teams, made up of more than 500 people, who are charged with contacting federal agencies to better understand their policies and operations, but those efforts cannot begin until the GSA officially designates that the transfer of power from the Trump administration to a Biden one can begin.
Biden advisers have warned of serious consequences if the Trump administration continues to deny access to the federal government, especially real-time data about the coronavirus pandemic and plans for distributing a vaccine.