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Partnership for Public Service applauds bipartisan reform to the Presidential Transition Act included in the omnibus appropriations bill  

December 23, 2022

WASHINGTON – The nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service today released the following statement from President and CEO Max Stier in support of reforms to the Presidential Transition Act included in the fiscal year 2023 omnibus appropriations bill: 

“The peaceful transfer of power is one of our country’s most cherished democratic traditions. We’ve learned that the next action to improve future transitions is to clarify ascertainment—the mechanism that releases resources and gives the presumptive winner access to prepare with federal agencies. The 2023 omnibus bill includes important reforms to the ascertainment process that will ensure that new administrations are better prepared to govern on Day One. With the next presidential election less than two years away, it is encouraging to see Congress prioritize this critical issue.”

The bipartisan Presidential Transition Improvement Act fills a gap in the current law by providing the release of transition services on an equitable basis to the candidates in case there is no clear winner five days after the presidential election and until there is a clear winner.

The ascertainment changes are part of a broader package of reforms that includes establishing clear guidelines for certifying and counting electoral votes for president and vice president. The Partnership for Public Service commends the 16 senators in this bipartisan group for introducing these reforms, which will strengthen our democracy, and particularly Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) for leading the deliberations on ascertainment, and to Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) for leading overall reform efforts on the Electoral Count Act and the Presidential Transition Act.

Since 2008, the Center for Presidential Transition® at the Partnership for Public Service has been the nation’s premier nonpartisan source of information and resources for helping presidential candidates and their teams lay the groundwork for a new administration or for a president’s second term. 

Earlier this year, the Center published a full analysis of the 2020 presidential transition that included recommendations for ensuring that transition assistance would be provided even in the event of a delay in ascertainment. The changes to the Presidential Transition Act included in the omnibus bill align with recommendations made by the Center.

During the 2020-21 transition, the Center shared several analyses on the impact of delaying ascertainment: 

·        Top 15 Costs of Delaying the Presidential Transition: A list of the challenges created by delaying ascertainment. In the 2020 election, ascertainment was declared on Nov. 23, 20 days after Election Day.  

·        How does the GSA “ascertain” the outcome of an election? An inside look at the GSA, ascertainment and the 2000 election: An explanation of ascertainment and historical context from the 2000 presidential election.  

During the past 21 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to building a better government and a stronger democracy. We work across administrations to help transform the way government works by providing agencies with the data insights they need to succeed, developing effective leaders, inspiring the next generation to public service, facilitating smooth presidential transitions and recognizing exceptional federal employees. Visit, follow us @PublicService and subscribe today to get the latest federal news, information on upcoming Partnership programs and events, and more.