Transition Roundup: Advice for Biden Administration Job-Seekers; GAO Launches Transition Resources
There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.
The Biden-Harris transition team and Trump administration had completed 79% of transition requirements as of Monday afternoon (up 27 percentage points from last week), according to Notre Dame University’s Presidential Transition Index, an initiative led by Denis McDonough, professor of the practice of public policy and former White House chief-of-staff. “This surge is attributed to the [General Services Administration’s] ascertainment…The newly met provisions include access to office space, communications and transition staff compensation, in addition to the submission of national security position candidates to the FBI and the initiation of their background checks,” said Shadwa Ibrahim, second-year master of global affairs student. “However, our team still perceives the information sharing efforts between the current and incoming administrations as insufficient to meet the statutory requirements.” This is exemplified by the fact that President Trump has not met with President-elect Biden yet. Here are some other recent headlines you might have missed.
The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service’s Center for Presidential Transition outlined on Tuesday the resources it has to help job-seekers looking to fill the 4,000 politically appointed positions in the Biden administration. “Serving your country through a presidential appointment is a great honor and responsibility,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “Given the power, influence and vast resources of the federal government, trust in the integrity of presidential appointees and their commitment to public service is paramount. The Partnership for Public Service’s Ready to Serve website helps aspiring political appointees do their homework and ask the right questions now so they can best navigate the historically tricky processes of presidential appointments.”
The Government Accountability Office launched its transition webpage on Tuesday to assist the incoming Congress and administration. It identifies the coronavirus pandemic, federal response to the economic recession and racial inequality as some of the major issues facing the country. Additionally, the top “strategic challenges” it’s monitoring involve human capital, information technology, “known risks” and fiscal issues. “We believe that lawmakers and appointees will find our transition webpage helpful in prioritizing policy matters and developing oversight agendas,” said Gene Dodaro, comptroller general of the United States and the head of GAO.
The Biden-Harris team on Monday announced the Inaugural Committee that will work with Congress to prepare for the events on January 20. “This year’s inauguration will look different amid the pandemic,” said President of Delaware State University Tony Allen, who was selected to be the committee’s chief executive, in a statement. “But we will honor the American inaugural traditions and engage Americans across the country while keeping everybody healthy and safe.” Additionally, Maju Varghese, campaign chief operating officer, will be the executive director and Nevada state Sen. Yvanna Cancela and campaign National Political Director Erin Wilson will both serve as deputy executive directors, Politico reported.
A diverse coalition of 32 groups sent a letter to President-elect Biden on Monday imploring that he ban Big Tech executives, lobbyists, lawyers and consultants from serving in his administration. “We believe that your administration must confront the threats posed by the monopolistic Big Tech companies that have exploited consumer privacy, threatened our democracy, stifled innovation and profited from the pandemic,” they wrote. “The time to hold these companies accountable and rein in their power is now. However, we can only bring these companies to account if you do not rely on affiliates of these very companies to make up your government.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on Monday that confirmation hearings for Biden’s nominees should begin immediately after the Senate runoff elections in Georgia on Jan. 5. This is so that “key Cabinet officials can be confirmed on January 20 and soon thereafter, which is traditional for a new president,” he said on the Senate floor, noting that this happened for presidents Obama and Trump as well.
The Congressional Black Caucus is pushing Biden to choose a Black Defense secretary, Politico reported on Monday. “While [Michele] Flournoy is still the frontrunner, the Biden team, which has promised to be the most diverse U.S. administration in history, is concerned about the optics of the top four Cabinet officials — State, Defense, Treasury and Justice — being white, said one transition official,” according to the report. “Biden has already announced that the secretary of State and Treasury jobs will go to Anthony Blinken and Janet Yellen, respectively, and is strongly considering picking Sally Yates as attorney general — all of whom are white, the person said.”
A congressional aide and a Senate committee spokesperson confirmed to Government Executive that GSA officials still briefed congressional committees on Monday, despite Biden already being ascertained as the winner. Before GSA ascertained Biden as the winner last Monday, the agency said it would brief congressional committees that had requested updates about the transition process on November 30. The briefings happened later than they wanted, however, and the agency said they would be delivered by the deputy administrator, not administrator.
Upcoming: The Biden-Harris transition team will host an event at approximately 12:30 p.m. to introduce their economic nominees and appointments.
Today’s GovExec Daily podcast episode is about how the Biden-Harris team is ramping up their transition process to work with the agencies after getting the green light from GSA.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.