The General Services Administration ascertained Monday that President-elect Joe Biden is the “apparent winner” of the Nov. 3 election, clearing the way for the start of the transition from President Donald Trump’s administration and allowing Biden to coordinate with federal agencies on plans for taking over on Jan. 20.
Trump, who had refused to concede the election, said in a tweet that he is directing his team to cooperate on the transition but is vowing to keep up the fight.
Administrator Emily Murphy made the determination after Trump efforts to subvert the vote failed across battleground states, citing, “recent developments involving legal challenges and certifications of election results.” Michigan certified Biden’s victory Monday, and a federal judge in Pennsylvania tossed a Trump campaign lawsuit on Saturday seeking to prevent certification in that state.
Livid with the response, the House Democrats wrote Ms. Murphy yet another letter, demanding a briefing on Tuesday.
“We cannot wait yet another week to obtain basic information about your refusal to make the ascertainment determination,” wrote the chairwomen, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney and Nita M. Lowey of New York, as well as the chairmen of the panels that oversee and fund the G.S.A., Representatives Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia and Mike Quigley of Illinois.
“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,” the letter stated
They gave Ms. Murphy until 5 p.m. to respond.
The top Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence committees also sought to increase the pressure on Ms. Murphy to let the formal transition begin. In a letter, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the Senate committee’s top Democrat, said that if classified briefings for Mr. Biden and his team did not begin immediately, their ability to “respond appropriately to any threats early in his term” could be hampered.
Such threats could include the pandemic and terrorism, said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, who leads the House Intelligence Committee.
“Our democracy and the orderly transition of power from one president to another must not be undermined by the inexplicable unwillingness of one candidate to accept the clear results of an election, or the inaction of government officials such as yourself,” Mr. Schiff wrote in his own letter.
Mr. Biden has tried to stay on the margins of the escalating fight between congressional Democrats and President Trump’s administration. The back-and-forth on Monday came as he pressed ahead with forming a cabinet, announcing a handful of top nominees.
Ms. Murphy has given no public explanation for her delay, but it has coincided with Mr. Trump’s attempts to overturn the results of the election. Without the administrator’s approval, Mr. Biden’s team cannot move into government offices in Washington, meet formally with federal agencies or conduct business involving sensitive government secrets.