Biden Transition Names Agency Review Teams

November 11, 2020 by Dan McCue
President-elect Joe Biden speaks Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump may be refusing to concede the 2020 election, but that’s not stopping the Biden transition team from moving forward with its preparations to assume office.

On Tuesday it unveiled the agency review teams that will lay the groundwork within federal agencies for the new administration.

The names of the members offer the first glimpse of what the Biden administration may look like, as several of the individuals involved could wind up with jobs in the agencies or have a significant hand in hiring others that do.

In a written statement, Ted Kaufman, co-chair of the Biden-Harris Transition, said that at a time when the nation is grappling with a pandemic, an economic crisis, urgent calls for racial justice and the threat of climate change, “we must be prepared for a seamless transfer of knowledge to the incoming administration.”

“The agency review process will help lay the foundation for meeting these challenges on Day One,” Kaufman said, adding, “the work of the agency review teams is critical for protecting national security, addressing the ongoing public health crisis, and demonstrating that America remains the beacon of democracy for the world.”

Each agency review team is comprised of three categories of members. Full-time employees will be funded by the transition itself (PT Fund Inc.) with the source of funding being listed as “Transition-PT Fund Inc.” in the transition team’s announcement.

The vast majority of individuals identified on Tuesday as being part of the process are volunteers.

A third category, into which none of the announced participants falls, is “detailees,” whose positions are to be funded through an appropriation that is currently being withheld by the General Services Administration.

According to the Biden-Harris Transition Office, the agency review teams will esentially work around the White House by meeting with former agency officials and experts who closely follow federal agencies, and with officials from think tanks, labor groups, trade associations, and other NGOs.

In addition, the Transition Office notes, many of the agency review team members have had long careers in the federal agencies they will now help prepare for the incoming Biden-Harris administration.

Of the hundreds of agency review teams members to be announced, more than half are women, and approximately 40 percent represent communities historically underrepresented in the federal government, including people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities.

The Transition Team said once the GSA Administrator ascertains the results of the election, the members will work directly with staff in federal agencies to ensure that the incoming Biden-Harris administration “is able to effectively achieve the policy goals of the President and Vice President-elect.”

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