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DECISION 2000 / AMERICA WAITS

Cheney: It's 'Essential' to Start Transition Process

November 28, 2000|From Associated Press

Excerpts of remarks delivered Monday by Dick Cheney, Republican Party vice presidential candidate, in Washington:

Now that the election results in Florida have been certified, in accordance with Florida state law and rulings by the Florida Supreme Court, we believe it is time to get on with the business of organizing the new administration.

We were disappointed, therefore, when the General Services Administration announced that they will continue to deny us access to taxpayer funds that are specifically appropriated by the Congress and set aside to pay for the transition.

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Therefore, at the direction of Gov. [George W.] Bush, we will proceed, drawing on other sources.

The Presidential Transition Act of 1963 . . . makes provision for raising private money and contributions from private sources to supplement the public funds needed to defray the transition-related expenses.

This has been done previously, most recently in 1992 by the Clinton-Gore transition. We plan to follow a similar practice now. . . . We will accept individual contributions within the limits specified by the statute of $5,000. And I want to emphasize individual contributions. We will not accept contributions from corporations or from political action committees.

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These days of transition before a president-elect takes the oath of office are of great importance. The quality of a transition has a direct bearing on the quality of the administration that follows it, a direct bearing on the quality of the people that are recruited to serve in an administration.

The transition affects the quality of planning, the building of relationships between the administration and the Congress, the capacity of a new administration to develop and execute a legislative program, and even the ability of the new team to deal with that first crisis when it arises, as it inevitably will.

Under normal circumstances, we have approximately 10 weeks to get ready to assume the responsibility for governing after an election.

Given the enormous complexity of interviewing, recruiting and confirming hundreds of senior officials, most administrations in recent years have not been fully staffed and organized until well into their first year in office. This year, because of admittedly unusual circumstances, we have already used up nearly three weeks, or roughly 30% of the original time available for a transition.

For all of those reasons, we believe it is absolutely essential for us to get on with the business of a transition.

Indeed, it would be irresponsible for us not to move as rapidly as possible to carry out these responsibilities.

One final point. As Jim Baker made clear yesterday, Gov. Bush and I prevailed at each step of the election process in Florida.

Now we have been officially certified, in accordance with the laws of the state of Florida, the winners of the state's 25 electoral votes.

Every vote in Florida has been counted. Every vote in Florida has been recounted. Some have been counted three times. Vice President [Al] Gore and Sen. [Joseph I.] Lieberman are apparently still unwilling to accept the outcome. That is unfortunate in light of the penalty that may have to be paid at some future date if the next administration is not allowed to prepare to take the reins of government.

We find ourselves in a unique and totally unprecedented position. Never before in American history has a presidential candidate gone to court to try to change the outcome of an already certified presidential election.

But whatever the vice president's decision, it does not change our obligation to prepare to govern the nation.

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