March 21, 2016

Partnership for Public Service Statement on President Obama Signing the Edward “Ted” Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transition Improvements Act of 2015

WASHINGTON – On Friday, March 18, President Obama signed the Edward “Ted” Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015, improving how the outgoing administration and federal agencies work together to ensure an effective transfer of knowledge and power to the next president.

This bipartisan legislation, introduced by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), codifies many of the best practices of the 2008-09 Bush-Obama transition, including the establishment of an Agency Transition Directors Council, and improves the training and resources available to an incoming administration.

The law is named after former Sen. Ted Kaufman (D-Del.), who sponsored the Pre-election Presidential Transition Act of 2010 making transition resources available to the major party candidates, and former Gov. Michael Leavitt (R-Utah), who served as chairman of the Romney Readiness Project.

Partnership for Public Service President and CEO Max Stier released the following statement following the bill’s enactment:

“President Obama launched the 2016-2017 presidential transition by signing the Edward “Ted” Kaufman and Michael Leavitt Presidential Transitions Improvements Act of 2015. The transition is a time of great vulnerability for our country, with immense implications for national security, the economy and our nation as a whole. Even during this raucous primary season, the presidential candidates must start planning now for the transfer of power.

Senators Carper and Johnson wisely recognized that our government needs to be well-prepared for the next transition. We applaud their hard work in championing this bill, and we recognize Representatives Chaffetz and Cummings for their important role in shepherding the legislation through the House.

The strong bipartisan support for this legislation reflects the importance of cooperation across government in ensuring a smooth presidential transition. The bill fundamentally improves how the outgoing administration, federal agencies and the incoming teams work together on a seamless transfer of knowledge and power.

Any presidential candidate who is still in the race at the end of this month should designate a transition chairman by the first week of April and prepare to take full advantage of this important legislation.”

The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service, through its Center for Presidential Transition, seeks to bring together the administration, candidate transition teams, federal agencies, Congress and outside experts to ensure smooth and safe presidential transitions. As part of this work, the Partnership plans to develop a management roadmap for the next administration, engage Congress in promoting reforms to the presidential transition process, assist 2016 presidential candidates and their transition teams and prepare incoming presidential appointees to succeed.