It took them a little while, but House Democrats have gotten around to asking General Services Administration head Emily Murphy to explain just why she’s holding up the transfer of power at great risk to the nation.
“We have been extremely patient, but we can wait no longer,” wrote Oversight and Reform Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney and Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey, in a letter calling on Murphy to brief lawmakers by Monday, with the possibility of a public hearing involving Murphy and her top deputies to be held later.
The law instructs the GSA administrator to ascertain the “apparent successful candidate” to start the formal presidential transition. Until Murphy takes that action, President-elect Joe Biden’s team doesn’t have access to the federal funds set aside for the transition or to key briefings and meetings with existing officials to coordinate a smooth process in January. But apparently Biden is not yet apparently successful enough for Murphy, who—unlike a series of judges—is treating Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the election as worthy of respect.
“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 letter points out.
Biden made the same point on Thursday, saying “Unfortunately—because of the lack of ascertainment by the GSA—my transition team hasn't been able to get access to the information we need to be able to deal with everything from testing and guidance to the all-important issue of vaccine distribution and vaccination plan.”
The letter was also signed by Reps. Gerry Connolly and Mike Quigley, who are chairs of relevant subcommittees.
It’ll sure be interesting to see how Murphy responds.