House Democrats have rejected an offer from the General Services Administration to wait until next week to brief them on Administrator Emily Murphy’s refusal to ascertain Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election and allow the formal transfer of power to begin.
Biden’s transition cannot start until Murphy ascertains his victory, according to federal law, a determination that has prevented the incoming administration from communicating with key national security and health officials despite the raging coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, the House Oversight Committee and House Appropriations Committee demanded a briefing with Murphy by Monday. Earlier in the day, GSA made a counteroffer: a briefing next week, and not with Murphy but with GSA’s deputy administrator.
The move comes as President Donald Trump has refused to concede the election and praised Murphy as she came under withering pressure for declining to aid Biden’s transition to power.
On Monday afternoon, lawmakers on the two committees rejected the administration’s proposal.
“Every additional day that is wasted is a day that the safety, health, and well-being of the American people is imperiled as the incoming Biden-Harris Administration is blocked from fully preparing for the coronavirus pandemic, our nation’s dire economic crisis, and our national security,” said House Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney, House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey and Reps. Gerry Connolly and Mike Quigley.
The lawmakers have instead indicated they want a briefing from Murphy on Tuesday and offered her a range of times throughout the day based on her convenience. They also offered to set up a telephone conference call if she is unable to utilize video conference services.