On April 22, 2010, Partnership President and CEO, Max Stier, testified before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on the Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce and the District of Columbia on the presidential transition. Stier discussed the Partnership’s tracking of the 2008 transition and provided several recommendations based on the Partnership’s Ready to Govern (provide link to report) transition report, released a year after the inauguration. Stier thanked the members of the committee for their leadership in introducing S. 3196, the Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act of 2010, and offered additional recommendations, including mandating White House and agency transition councils.

Based on our examination of presidential transitions, and in particular the 2008–2009 experience, it is time once again to revisit and amend the presidential transition law to place requirements on the White House to better facilitate transition activities, and to enable campaigns and the president-elect to be better prepared to govern.

In this Ready to Govern report, we examine the three phases of the 2008–2009 transition—the pre-election timeframe, the period from the election to the inauguration and President Obama’s first year in office. In each section, we provide a short narrative based on the experiences and reflections of some key participants in the transition, and offer a series of recommendations for each phase on a broad range of transition issues. These include:

The Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act of 2010 allows major party presidential candidates to receive certain support and services from the federal government following the nominating conventions. Previously, federal support had been limited to the period following Election Day.