External transition resources
The following external resources offer additional perspectives about the election process and the Presidential transition
The Presidential Transition Act of 1963, as amended, is the guiding legislation for most Presidential Transition activities. The updated act can be found at 3 USC 102 Note. Below are the historical additions to the legislation over the years to present day.
Presidential Transition Act of 1963
To promote the orderly transfer of the executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of office of a president and the Inauguration of a new president.
Public Law 94-499 Appropriation Authorization, 1976
To revise the appropriation authorization for the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, and for other purposes.
Presidential Transitions Effectiveness Act of 1988
To amend the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 to provide for a more orderly transfer of executive power in connection with the expiration of the term of office of a president.
Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (Section 151 of Division C of Public Law 115-277)
To clarify statutory requirements relating to vacancies in certain federal offices, and for other purposes.
Presidential Transition Act of 2000
To provide for the training or orientation of individuals, during a presidential transition, who the president intends to appoint to certain key positions, to provide for a study and report on improving the financial disclosure process for certain presidential nominees, and for other purposes.
Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004
To reform the intelligence community and the intelligence and intelligence-related activities of the United States Government, and for other purposes.
Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act of 2010
To amend the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 to provide that certain transition services shall be available to eligible candidates before the general election.
Presidential Transitions Improvements Acts of 2015
To improve the process of presidential transition.
Presidential Transition Enhancement Act of 2019
To smooth the transfer of executive power during the presidential transitions.
- Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act of 2022 (Division P of Public Law 117–328) [PDF]
To improve the electoral process and the transition of presidential administrations in the United States government, and for related purposes.
Office of Personnel Management 2020 Presidential Transition Guide
The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) released the 2020 Presidential Transition Guide [PDF version] to help the new Administration and agency officials responsible for transitions. This guide explains the rules and policies for setting up transition teams, replacing political appointees, and managing career Federal employees, especially those in the Senior Executive Service, during the transition period.
Federal Election Commission
The Federal Election Commission was established by Congress in 1975 to oversee and enforce the rules for funding federal elections outlined in the Federal Election Campaign Act. As an independent agency, the FEC has several important responsibilities:
- Transparency: The FEC discloses information about campaign finances.
- Enforcement: It ensures that the law's rules, like contribution limits and restrictions, are followed.
- Presidential Election Funding: The FEC manages public funding for presidential elections.
U.S. General Services Administration
The General Services Administration was established by President Harry Truman on July 1, 1949, to streamline the administrative work of the federal government. GSA consolidated the National Archives Establishment, the Federal Works Agency, and the Public Buildings Administration; the Bureau of Federal Supply, the Office of Contract Settlement, and the War Assets Administration into one federal agency tasked with administering supplies and providing workplaces for federal employees. GSA’s original mission was to dispose of war surplus goods, manage and store government records, handle emergency preparedness, and stockpile strategic supplies for wartime. GSA also regulated the sale of various office supplies to federal agencies and managed some unusual operations, such as hemp plantations in South America. Today, through its two largest offices – the Public Buildings Service and the Federal Acquisition Service – and various staff offices, GSA provides workspace to more than 1 million federal civilian workers, oversees the preservation of more than 480 historic buildings, and facilitates the federal government’s purchase of high-quality, low-cost goods and services from quality commercial vendors.
Our role in presidential transitions
The transfer of power between presidential administrations is a significant moment in U.S. history. Since 1963, We have played a prominent role in facilitating the peaceful transition of authority from one administration to the next. Over the years, as transition-focused legislation has been amended to enhance the presidential transition process, our responsibilities have expanded and adapted. During a presidential transition, GSA prepares to offer support to eligible candidates, to the president-elect, vice president-elect, interagency transition partners, and presidential inauguration teams.
Support to the eligible candidates
We provide, upon request, services and facilities to each eligible candidate for use in preparing to assume their official duties. Those services and facilities include suitable office space appropriately equipped with furniture, furnishings, office and IT equipment, and incidental office supplies.
Support to the president-elect and vice president-elect
We provide, upon request, services and facilities to each president-elect and vice-president-elect for use in preparing to assume their official duties. Those services and facilities may include a suitable office space appropriately equipped with furniture, furnishings, office and IT equipment, office supplies, fleet vehicles, and mail management; payment of compensation for office staff; payment of expenses for the procurement of experts or consultants and communication services; and payment of travel, subsistence, printing, postal, and other expenses as necessary and appropriate. These services are only provided in the event of a change of Administration.
Support for Inter-agency transition
Through the Federal Transition Coordinator, we ensure that the Federal Government has an integrated strategy for addressing interagency responsibilities and challenges around presidential transitions and turnover of non-career appointees. Guidance is provided to agencies in gathering briefing materials and information that may be requested by eligible candidates during the Presidential transition.
Support for the Presidential Inauguration
We provide, upon request, services and facilities to the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC), the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee (AFIC), and other governmental entities in support of the presidential Inauguration. Such services include space, communication systems, IT support, financial management, telephones, parking, furniture, vehicles, office equipment, mail management, and administrative support services.
Support to the Outgoing president and vice president
We provide, upon request, services and facilities in support of the transition of each outgoing president and vice president. Those services and facilities may include space, communication systems, IT support, financial management, human resources management, telephones, furniture, vehicles, office equipment, mail management, and administrative support services (such as payroll, financial services, and contracting). These services are only provided in the event of a change of Administration.
Support for the White House Complex
As the facilities manager for the West Wing and East Wing of the White House, as well as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the New Executive Office Building, and other White House Complex facilities, GSA supports the turnover of these spaces from one Administration to the other on Inauguration Day. The preparation begins in the months prior to Inauguration Day, and activities continue in the months after the new Administration takes occupancy. Activities include cleaning offices, common areas, and conference rooms thoroughly; painting and replacing carpet or other finishes where needed to prepare the space for new occupants; and moving furniture and other fixtures within the complex as specified by the incoming Administration.
The turnover of the White House Residence and the Oval Office is not coordinated by GSA; it is coordinated by the Office of the Chief Usher, which is part of the Executive Residence agency within the Executive Office of the President. GSA does not provide support or funding for the move of the outgoing president’s personal and household goods out of the White House Residence or the move of the incoming president’s personal and household goods into the White House Residence.
Office of Management and Budget
The Office of Management and Budget coordinates across the Executive Branch to oversee implementation of the president’s vision. OMB works to complete its statutory responsibilities and achieve the policy, budget, management, and regulatory goals set by the president. Given the cross-cutting nature of its mission, OMB works closely with agencies and Congress.
Learn more about OMB at its website - www.omb.gov.
OMB's role in the presidential transition
OMB coordinates with GSA, OPM, and NARA in facilitating the Presidential transition process by supporting the establishment of and helping coordinate the Agency Transition Directors Council (ATDC).
The ATDC ensures the Federal government has a strategy for handling all challenges and responsibilities during the transition of government. The ATDC will coordinate with the EOP, agencies, and the transition teams of eligible candidates.
The ATDC’s duties include:
- Assisting the Federal Transition Coordinator in identifying and carrying out the responsibilities of the Federal Transition Coordinator relating to a presidential transition.
- Providing guidance to agencies in gathering briefing materials and information relating to the presidential transition that may be requested by eligible candidates.
- Ensuring materials and information described above are prepared not later than November 1 of a year during which a presidential election is held.
- Ensuring agencies adequately prepare career employees who are designated to fill non-career positions during a presidential transition.
- Consulting with the President’s Management Council, or any successor, in carrying out the duties of the agency transition director’s council.
Representatives from select agencies serve on the ATDC as Agency Transition Directors. The Agency Transition Directors should be senior career representatives whose responsibilities include leading presidential transition efforts within the agency. The ATDC is co-chaired by the Federal Transition Coordinator (from GSA) and the Deputy Director for Management of OMB.