Following Tester Push on Behalf of Veterans, GSA Administrator Begins Formal Presidential Transition Process Ensuring Support to VA During COVID-19 Pandemic

Ranking Member urges Administrator Murphy to proceed with smooth transition, provide necessary resources and services to veterans and their families during the ongoing crisis

The General Services Administration (GSA) has agreed to begin a formal presidential transition process to ensure that critical resources are delivered to veterans and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic following a push from U.S. Senator Jon Tester.

The GSA’s denial of the outcome of the 2020 election, and harmful withholding of transition resources from the Biden-Harris transition team, jeopardized the lives and well-being of veterans nationwide. As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Tester urged GSA Administrator Emily Murphy to proceed with the presidential transition process and work with the Biden-Harris transition team so that veterans are provided with the services and support they earned under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

“The biggest current threat to the health and livelihood of veterans is the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ranking Member Tester wrote. “As the largest integrated health care system in the country with the responsibility of backing up the nation’s health care systems, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is on the frontlines of this crisis. It is therefore critical for VA to supply all of its most recent information on the Department’s COVID-19 efforts, high risk areas, Fourth Mission work, PPE availability and challenges, and vaccine supply and distribution planning to the Biden-Harris transition team. The incoming Administration needs this information to assess how VA’s current leadership is handling the pandemic in order to ensure the greatest needs and safety of veterans and VA staff are being properly addressed.”

Tester has fought tirelessly to ensure that veterans and the staff who provide their care have better access to life-saving supplies during the pandemic. In a letter to VA Secretary Robert Wilkie yesterday, Tester led his committee colleagues in urging VA to swiftly develop and release its own COVID-19 vaccine strategy—prior to the Biden-Harris Administration—to keep veterans and staff safe during the ongoing crisis. The Senators pressed VA on its plan to allocate a coronavirus vaccine, reach veterans in rural and hotspot areas, combat vaccine misinformation, and strengthen cross-government and community partnerships. They also requested VA’s strategy in allocating its initial doses among staff and vulnerable veterans to make sure those at highest risk receive the vaccine first.

Full text of Tester’s letter is available HERE.