Picture Credit: David Lienemann
This week, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) acknowledged Joe Biden as President-elect which commenced the formal presidential transition process. Meanwhile, President Trump has not yet publicly accepted the election results and has filed lawsuits claiming election fraud, most of which have been rejected or discarded by the courts. In addition, many Republican leaders have not yet acknowledged Biden as the President-elect.
The GSA is a federal agency responsible for confirming the official president-elect and then overseeing the transition of power from one administration to the next. Once the GSA has started this process, the new President-elect receives many resources and is able to start working directly with many federal agencies to start planning the transition process. The process is set forth in the Presidential Transition Act, which provides for certain steps and practices to be followed leading up to the inauguration and move-in to Washington D.C. and the White House.
How do presidents transfer power from one administration to the next administration? The presidential shift in power is a complicated process that takes a lot of time and is very important from the perspective of national security and economic stability. The transition requires cooperation from the outgoing administration. The outgoing president must pass on a lot of information, especially relating to national security.
While it might seem that the process would commence immediately after the new president-elect is declared, the transition preparations actually start many months before the actual election. Each campaign staff prepares election platforms that can be turned into policies and laws as soon as their candidate wins the election and takes office. They also work on budgets and agendas and start to think about the hundreds of presidential appointments that will need to be made, including Cabinet and White House officials. The new president also has to appoint many people to manage the day to day affairs of the White House, including cooks and assistants. Some positions will need confirmation by the Senate and therefore, they need to be chosen and nominated carefully.