Senate Passes Bipartisan Legislation to Improve Presidential Transitions

WASHINGTON — Today, the Senate unanimously approved legislation to streamline the presidential transition process. The Edward “Ted” Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015 (S.1172), introduced by Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), ranking member and chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, would help future presidential candidates navigate the transition process and manage a smooth transition into the executive office.

“One of the great virtues of our nation is the peaceful transition of power from one president to the next, regardless of political affiliation. This bipartisan bill, which builds on work spearheaded by my former colleague Sen. Ted Kaufman and former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, offers some common-sense improvements to the current presidential transition process and outlines the shared responsibilities between outgoing and incoming administrations to prepare for a new president’s smooth transition to the White House,” Sen. Carper said.Given the challenges facing our country, both at home and abroad, Congress has a critical responsibility to help ensure an orderly changeover from one administration to the next. This bill will help ensure that when future presidents take the oath of office, their administrations are as prepared as possible to hit the ground running from day one. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for supporting this important bill.”

“The peaceful transition of power from one administration to the next is one of the hallmarks of our democracy. It is also an enormous undertaking, with complexities that require months of planning in order to be successful,” Sen. Johnson said. “I am pleased that this important legislation has passed the Senate to help ensure that each presidential transition is smoother than the last.”

The Edward “Ted” Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015 (S.1172) would ensure that a senior-level, White House-led interagency transition council is in place at least six months before Election Day, and that a standing, working-level interagency group will develop an integrated strategy for transitions. The bill would clarify the transition duties of the General Services Administration (GSA), which is already responsible under existing law for providing office support and space to the major candidates, and provides for the designation of a career employee at GSA to serve as a Federal Transition Coordinator. The bill would also ensure that agencies designate a senior career official for each major component or subcomponent to oversee transition activities at least six months before Election Day, and also designate individuals who will serve in an “acting” capacity in senior political positions during a transition by not later than September 15 of a presidential election year. The bill would also expand training available to incoming presidential appointees.