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Biden says transition can proceed without Trump administration's cooperation

Biden says transition is moving forward
Biden says his transition is moving ahead with or without assistance from Trump administration 12:11

Washington — President-elect Joe Biden said his transition team has all the resources they need to press forward with necessary preparations, as the Trump administration and the General Services Administration fails to recognize him as president-elect. 

Technically, the GSA administrator must "ascertain" the winner of the election in order to release millions in funding for the transition, as well as office space and the authority to receive some classified briefings. Biden, speaking to reporters in Delaware about the Affordable Care Act, dismissed the notion that such resources are critical for a successful transition. 

"Well, first of all, we are already beginning the transition. We're well under way," Biden said. "And the ability for the administration in any way by failure to recognize our win does not change the dynamic at all and what we're able to do ... We're going to be going, moving along, in a consistent manner, putting together our administration, White House, and reviewing who we're going to pick for the Cabinet positions. And nothing is going to stop that." 

The president-elect said he is "confident that the fact that they're not willing to acknowledge that we won at this point is not of much consequence in our planning and what we're able to do between now and January 20." 

Mr. Biden also said he doesn't think it will be necessary to pursue legal avenues to force the Trump administration to hand over the resources to his transition team.

"I don't see a need for legal action, quite frankly," he said. 

On the health care front, Mr. Biden promised to fight to protect health care for every American, saying his transition team is getting "right to work" building on the Affordable Care Act. 

His remarks come after the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of a key provision of the law. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, speaking before Mr. Biden, said every vote for their ticket was a vote to protect and expand on the Affordable Care Act.

Biden on Affordable Care Act: "This doesn't need to be a partisan issue" 08:26

Mr. Biden said the outcome of the Supreme Court case is a matter of "life and death" for many Americans, in a literal sense. The president-elect promised to do everything he can to protect health care for all Americans. 

"They need a lifeline and they need it now," he said of families facing health crises. 

The Supreme Court heard oral arguments by telephone conference in the case brought by a group of 18 red states and backed by the Trump administration, who argue Obamacare's individual mandate is unconstitutional because Congress eliminated the financial penalty for individuals who fail to obtain health insurance coverage. The Republican-led states and the Justice Department also claim that if the individual mandate is struck down by the Supreme Court, the rest of Obamacare should fall with it, as the provision is intertwined with the law.

Two conservative justices — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh — appeared skeptical of arguments that the entire law should be struck down, with Roberts saying overturning the law when Congress declined to do so "is not our job."

The Urban Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, estimates that if the high court were to kill the health care law, an additional 21.1 million people would be uninsured in 2022.

Arguments in the case are set against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of more than 238,000 in the United States. The number of confirmed infections surged past 10 million Monday.

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