Evan Vucci / AP

Transition Roundup: Biden Team Makes Contact With Over 50 Agencies; Progressives Target OMB and Regulatory Affairs Picks

There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.

By the end of Tuesday, agency review teams “made contact or met with over 50 agencies and commissions,” which includes the offices within the Office of the President, said Jen Psaki, a senior adviser to President-elect Biden's transition, during a briefing on Wednesday morning. “Sharing of classified information has also begun with the president-elect’s senior team” and the first in-person meetings are expected to happen next week, while adhering to public health guidance. Psaki said she believes Biden will receive the first presidential daily briefing on Monday. 

“The reception from career civil servants has been professional and welcoming,” said Kate Bedingfield, deputy campaign manager and communications director. The transition legal team met with the FBI and Justice Department on Tuesday to begin the background check process for appointees and the General Services Administration has been “responsive and helpful” in helping the team receive access to information technology, government email accounts and government-issued laptops, she said during the virtual briefing. They are also working to get more secure space for classified briefings in Wilmington, Del., and Washington, D.C., while following COVID-19 protocols. Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed. 

Biden outlined his plan for his first 100 days in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday. “I will send an immigration bill to the United States Senate with a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in America,” said the president-elect. “I will also be moving to do away with some of the, I think, very damaging executive orders that have significantly impacted on making the climate worse and making us less healthy, from methane to a whole range of things the president has done.” 

Biden hasn’t met with President Trump, but said, “Of course I would, if he asked,” according to the transition pool report. Also, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has “been very, very helpful,” Biden said.  

Bedingfield said during the briefing that agency review teams are focused particularly on getting briefed on “Operation Warp Speed,” vaccine distribution, coronavirus testing and the supply chain for personal protective gear. Those briefings are beginning on Wednesday. 

As of Tuesday night, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hadn’t spoken with Tony Blinken, Biden’s nominee for his position, but said that his department began the transition process. “We’ll do everything that’s required by law,” he told Fox News. “We’ll make this work.”

Current and former officials say the No. 2 position at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is “key” because it doesn’t require Senate confirmation, Bloomberg Law reported on Tuesday. “The Biden administration has committed itself to quickly enacting an emergency temporary standard to protect workers from coronavirus infections,” said the report. “But it could take months to fill the top spot at the [OSHA],” as that has been the case in the past, “regardless of which party controls the White House and Senate.”

The progressive group-led online petition urging Biden against picking Bruce Reed, a long-time Biden staffer, now a technology adviser to the campaign, to lead the Office of Management and Budget, has several congressional campaign sponsors. This includes Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Reps.-elect Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., and Cori Bush, D-Mo.

Progressive groups are also not happy with the lead on Biden’s agency review team for the OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, “arguing the official has been too sympathetic toward President Trump’s deregulatory efforts,” The Hill reported on Wednesday. Bridget Dooling is a former OIRA analyst and currently research professor at The George Washington University's Regulatory Studies Center, which the groups criticize for receiving funding from the Charles Koch Foundation and ExxonMobil. However, the transition team and her colleagues said the criticism is “unwarranted” because of her vast experience in regulatory policy. 

The Justice Department agreed in a court filing to hold off on deporting up to a dozen women who alleged they were medically abused at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Georgia until Biden takes office, Vice reported on Tuesday. 

Upcoming: Biden will deliver a live-streamed Thanksgiving address at 2 p.m. 

Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode looks at what's to come with the president’s executive order that created a new Schedule F classification and could strip those moved into it of their civil service protections. 

Help us understand the situation better. Are you a federal employee, contractor or military member with information, concerns, etc. about how your agency is handling the transition? Email us at newstips@govexec.com.