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November 22, 2020

Democrats demand GSA explain failure to ascertain Biden victory, transition

HugeSaleHouse Democrats have demanded the head of the General Services Administration to explain why she is refusing to grant President-elect Joe Biden access to funds, services and facilities his team requires to transition into the White House.

In a letter sent Thursday night to Emily Murphy, the administrator of the GSA, leading House Democrats said she has until Monday to explain her ongoing refusal to give the Biden-Harris transition team access to congressionally approved funds as well as money, services and facilities specified in the Presidential Transition Act of 1963.

"We have been extremely patient, but we can no longer wait," the Democrats said. "As GSA administrator, it is your responsibility to follow the law and secure 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."

Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney and Nita M. Lowey, the respective chairs of the oversight and reform committee and the appropriations committee, said in the letter there is "no conceivable argument" that Biden lost the election after having received more votes than any other candidate in history and that it is her responsibility to begin transition activities as soon as she ascertains the successors of the country's highest offices.

Her testimony will inform whether they bring her, her deputy, her chief of staff and her general counsel to testify in public hearing.

"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," the chairs said.

The letter was sent a day after Biden called on the GSA to recognize him as the election's winner so he can gain access to federal resources to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

"The law says that the General Services Administration has a person who recognizes who the winner is. And then they have to have access to all the data and information that the government possesses," he said. "And it doesn't require that there be an absolute winner. It says the 'apparent' winner."

President Donald Trump has refused to concede having lost the Nov. 3 general election to Biden and has pursued a litigious effort with his campaign and the Republican Party to challenge election results, citing widely discredited claims of election fraud.

Many of the cases have either been refused or withdrawn.

The Democrats said in the letter that the White House has claimed it is not putting pressure on the GSA to block ascertaining who won the election. If that is true, then it is critical that Murphy follow the law and ascertain the election's winner "without any further delay," they said.

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