Presidential transition bill to become law
For presidential candidates, "measuring the drapes" is no longer taboo.
The House passed a bill Wednesday that strongly encourages -- but does not legally require -- major-party presidential nominees and incumbent presidents to start planning for a potential White House transition before Election Day. The bill passed the Senate last week and heads to President Obama -- a likely 2012 candidate -- for his signature.
The bill instructs the General Services Administration to offer the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees a host of services once the party's nominating conventions conclude. Other candidates would be deemed eligible based on criteria similar to those used by the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates.
GSA will provide participating candidates with an equal amount of Washington office space, phones, computers, government briefings, training and early security clearances for prospective aides and appointees.
Candidates are not legally obligated to accept the government assistance, but the intent of the law strongly urges future participation. Campaigns would pay for staff salaries, travel expenses and other costs and could establish transition spending accounts funded by campaign cash or personal contributions up to $5,000 per person.
The legislation is an outgrowth of a report released in January that credited George W. Bush and his aides for an early and well-organized transition to Barack Obama's administration. The report warned that modern-day national security and economic concerns should trump political concerns about planning for a presidency at the height of campaign season.
"Everyone agrees that in this post-September 11 security environment, presidential transitions should not be left to chance," said Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), a lead sponsor of the bill.
Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) agreed: "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."
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Posted by: theaz | September 30, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse
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