from U.S. Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-DE)
April 14, 2010
Kaufman Introduces Bill to Improve Presidential Transfers of Power
Bipartisan legislation would encourage
candidates, incumbent administrations to engage in earlier pre-election
April 14, 2010
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Ted Kaufman (D-DE), with Senators George V.
Voinovich (R-OH), Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) on
Tuesday introduced bipartisan legislation to address the historical
reluctance of presidential candidates to initiate early transition
activities, as well as to ensure incumbent administrations continue
making transition planning a priority.
The Pre-Election Presidential
Transition Act would encourage both candidates and incumbent
administrations to undertake earlier pre-election transition
activities. The bill would formalize many of the recent transition’s
successes and provide additional resources to help candidates begin
their transition efforts earlier.
“Fortune favors the prepared,” said Sen. Kaufman, who served as a
member of the Obama-Biden transition team. “The Pre-Election
Presidential Transition Act will go a long way in removing the stigma
that has historically caused candidates to hide or even delay important
transition planning until after Election Day. With the security and
domestic policy challenges we face today, it must become the norm for
any major party nominee to begin making arrangements for a transition
long before Election Day. We can’t afford to leave something this
important to chance.”
“Candidates taking deliberate steps to ensure a smooth transition
should not be criticized as arrogantly ‘measuring the White House
drapes’ before Election Day; such planning should be encouraged and
supported.” Sen. Voinovich said. “I am proud to join with my colleagues
in introducing the Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act, which will
establish forms of transition assistance to candidates earlier than
ever before. We owe it to Americans to encourage effective presidential
transition periods in order to protect our national security, support
economic prosperity and promote government efficiency.”
"A smooth, effective transition is vital to ensuring government
continuity and protecting national security between administrations,"
said Sen. Akaka. "In 2008 I chaired two Oversight of Government
Management Subcommittee hearings on the importance of transition
planning. Because of unprecedented preparation and planning, last
year’s transition has proven one of the most successful ever. The PrEPT
Act builds on lessons learned and encourages early planning for future
“Presidential transitions and the months that follow can be perceived
as times of potential vulnerability for the nation. Al Qaeda tried to
take advantage of a new presidency when it attacked the nation on
September 11, 2001. This legislation helps make transfers of power more
seamless by encouraging incumbent administrations and presidential
campaigns to plan responsibly for a transition in advance of an
election. Ultimately, this type of early planning will make our nation
more secure,” said Sen. Lieberman.
Specifically, the bill would:
candidate transition planning an act of responsibility, not
The Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act seeks to make the decision
to undertake transition planning easier by providing resources and
educating the campaigns, the press, and the public on the importance of
early transition activities.
· The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) will offer each
candidate an array of services promptly upon nomination, including
fully equipped office space, communication services, briefings,
training, and initiation of security clearances for prospective
· Candidates eligible for services include major party
candidates and others determined eligible based on the criteria used by
the Commission on Presidential Debates for those participating in
general election debates.
· GSA shall distribute to candidates a report on modern
transitions, including a bibliography of resources, which shall be
released to the public and posted online.
· Staff compensation, travel expenses and allowances are funded
exclusively by separate funds of the campaigns prior to the election.
· Provision of services and information to eligible candidates
is to be provided on an equal basis and without regard to political
affiliation, and are to be used by candidates or staff only for
· Candidates will be expressly authorized to establish at any
time a separate 501(c)(4) fund comprised of campaign monies and/or
separately raised funds (with a $5,000 per person contribution limit)
to cover any transition-related expenses or to supplement the services
provided through GSA.
administration preparation for transfer of power:
Not every incumbent administration has or can be expected to make
transition planning the priority it was made by the Bush
Administration. Nonetheless, bringing greater awareness to the public –
as well as to political and career agency personnel – of the critical
value of a well-prepared transfer of power can enhance the likelihood
of effective transition planning.
· Authorization of appropriations expressly for use by the
Administration to plan and coordinate activities by the Departments and
agencies to facilitate an efficient transfer of power, which may
include, among other activities:
· Establishment and operation of a transition coordinating
council comprised of such high-level administration officials, or their
designees, as the Chief of Staff to the President, Cabinet Secretaries,
Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Administrator of GSA,
Director of the Office of Management Personnel, and other senior
· Establishment and operation of an agency transition directors’
council, which would include career employees designated to lead
transition efforts within Departments or agencies.
· Development of briefing materials on Departments and agencies
and the major issues facing an incoming administration.
· Development of computer software, publications, contingency
plans, issue memoranda, memoranda of understanding, training (including
crisis training), programs, and other items appropriate for improving
the effectiveness and efficiency of a presidential transition.
· The Administration shall provide reports to the Senate
Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the House
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform six months and three
months before the election describing the activities undertaken by the
Administration, Departments, and agencies to prepare for the
anticipated or potential transfer of power.