In an unusual statement, the National Association of Manufacturers and prominent plastics executives in its leadership called on the Donald Trump administration Nov. 18 to give full briefings to President-elect Joe Biden's transition team to help with handling the coronavirus pandemic and economic rebuilding.
The statement said it is "highly appropriate that the Trump administration allow key individuals from the Biden team to access critical government personnel and information now."
NAM also urged a federal agency, the General Services Administration, to formally certify the transition in a process called ascertainment, opening up government resources and exchange of information.
"The next two months are critical to our nation's ability to successfully deal with twin crises: controlling the spread of COVID-19 and rebuilding the U.S. economy," NAM said in the statement, which it released after close of business.
"While we understand and respect the court challenges that are a part of our democratic process, it's imperative that our nation has a president and advisors who are fully prepared to lead our nation on Inauguration Day given the magnitude of the challenges ahead and the threats to our economic and national security, and most importantly, to the public health," the business group said.
NAM also cited the need for distribution of vaccines in coming months, and the need to protect against supply chain disruptions.
The statement was signed by five NAM senior leaders, including Dow Inc. Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling, who is vice chair of the NAM board of directors, and Proto Labs Inc. President and CEO Vicki Holt, who is vice chair of the NAM Small and Medium Manufacturers board.
The statement said manufacturers have worked to make protective equipment, stabilize the food supply and develop vaccines, and called for the GSA to sign the letter of ascertainment so that the industry "can continue to work seamlessly with the federal government — no matter who is president on January 20."
NAM also referred to Biden as the president-elect, repeating language it has used since Nov. 7, when it congratulated Biden on winning the election. The American Chemistry Council made a similar statement the same day.
"We call on the Trump administration to work cooperatively with President-elect Biden and his team," NAM said. "There is no time to waste nor room for error. Manufacturers have been leading throughout these crises, and we know what is at stake: American lives and livelihoods."