Updated Dec 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden team says White House budget office not cooperating with transition

Biden
Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden's transition team said at a press briefing on Wednesday that the Office of Management and Budget has been limiting support to the incoming administration, accusing the agency of "intentionally generated opacity."

Why it matters: Yohannes Abraham, executive director of the Biden Transition, told reporters "there’s no question" that a lack of analytical support to the transition team will delay Biden's budget planning, and that it has "real-world implications" for national security.

The big picture: The news comes days after Biden said his team has "encountered obstruction" and "roadblocks" from political leadership at the Defense Department, including a lack of briefings.

  • Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller pushed back on the claims, saying that "DoD political and career officials have been working with the utmost professionalism to support transition activities in a compressed time schedule and they will continue to do so."
  • OMB's role is to assist in the development and implementation of the federal budget. A delay in budget planning could have ramifications for the U.S. economy, including as it relates to COVID-19.

The other side: OMB director Russ Vought on Thursday rebuked Biden's claims in a letter to former Sen. Ted Kaufman, who's leading Biden's transition team.

  • Vought said OMB has "provided factual information about ongoing programs" to the Biden transition team" and taken more than 45 meetings with transition staff.
  • But Vought noted that "OMB staff are working on [the Trump] Administration's policies and will do so until [the Trump] Administration's final day in office."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with OMB director Russ Vought's letter.

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