GSA Responds to Biden Campaign: ‘Ascertainment Has Not yet Been Made’ on Power Transfer

November 9, 2020 Updated: November 9, 2020

As the campaign for Joe Biden attempts to push the General Services Administration (GSA) to approve a transfer of power, the agency said that it hasn’t made a final assessment of the situation.

“An ascertainment has not yet been made. GSA and its administrator will continue to abide by, and fulfill, all requirements under the law,” a spokesperson with the GSA told The Epoch Times on Nov. 9.

The agency said that GSA administrator Emily Murphy will only initiate the transition when a “clear winner is clear, based on the process laid out in the Constitution.”

“The administrator’s ascertainment is done for the purposes of making services provided by the [Presidential Transition Act] available,” the spokesperson said. “Until an ascertainment is made, the statute allows for the Biden Transition Team to continue to receive the pre-elect services from the government (e.g., limited office space, computers, background investigations for security clearances). GSA has met all statutory requirements under the PTA for this election cycle and will continue to do so.”

A number of media outlets project that Biden, a Democrat, is the winner, although Trump’s team has filed lawsuits in key battleground states, alleging irregularities and voter fraud. And in others, vote-counting is still ongoing.

The Epoch Times will not declare a winner of the 2020 presidential election until all results are certified and any legal challenges are resolved. Both candidates have claimed victory in certain states, but it appears increasingly likely that this election will be resolved in the courts.

Epoch Times Photo
The General Services Administration (GSA) Headquarters building in Washington on Nov. 21, 2016. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Trump’s campaign has also pushed for recounts and canvasses in several states such as Wisconsin and Georgia. Trump’s team said it would provide more evidence and announce more lawsuits.

According to Reuters, if the GSA signed off on the transition plan, it would provide Biden’s campaign with federal funding for travel and salaries.

Sen. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Operations, told Reuters that there needs to be a speedy transition process due to the pandemic.

“The administrator plays a critical role in the peaceful transfer of power and ensuring vital government services are not disrupted. This is all the more important amid a deadly pandemic,” Connolly said.

Under a 1963 law (pdf), the GSA decides when a winner is determined. It then authorizes the president-elect to communicate with U.S. federal agencies, and provides the agencies with operational funding. The incoming administration then has about two months to organize itself before Jan. 20.

Allen Zhong contributed to this report.