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Saks, Mastercard Execs Warn Against Stalling ‘Orderly Transfer of Power’

Business leaders across the country are keen to leave 2020—and last year’s contentious election—in the rearview.

On Monday, a group of nearly 200 executives from the fashion, retail, finance, airline, pharmaceutical, real estate, sports and media industries signed onto a letter calling for Congress to certify the electoral results that will allow President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to be sworn into office later this month. The letter was organized by the Partnership for New York City, a lobbying and advocacy group for the city’s business community, and comes as a widely reported recording emerged over the weekend of President Trump wading into legally dubious territory by asking Georgia electoral officials to “find” enough votes to sway the state, which Biden won, in his favor.

“This presidential election has been decided and it is time for the country to move forward,” they wrote, adding that the Democratic challengers prevailed in the Electoral College and the Trump administration’s efforts to contest the results of the election have been rejected by the courts.

Congress should move to certify the American electorate’s vote on Wednesday, they said, warning that “attempts to thwart or delay this process run counter to the essential tenets of our democracy.”

“The incoming Biden administration faces the urgent tasks of defeating Covid-19 and restoring the livelihoods of millions of Americans who have lost jobs and businesses during the pandemic,” signatories like Marc Metric, president and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, Neil Blumenthal and Dave Gilboa, co-CEOs of Warby Parker, Roger Lynch, CEO of Conde Nast, Deirdre Quinn, CEO of womenswear brand Lafayette 148, and Joshua Silverman, CEO of Etsy, wrote.

“Our duly elected leaders deserve the respect and bipartisan support of all Americans at a moment when we are dealing with the worst health and economic crises in modern history,” continued the group, which included Ajay Banga, executive chairman of Mastercard, Jeff T. Blau, CEO of The Related Companies, Toby Dodd, president, New York Tri-State, Cushman & Wakefield, Brian Kingston, CEO of real estate for Brookfield Asset Management, Alex Liu, managing partner and chairman at Kearney, and Infor chairman Charles E. Phillips, Jr. “There should be no further delay in the orderly transfer of power.”

The continued uncertainty surrounding the election could have consequences for American businesses—namely, a slowing of the economic recovery that many are so desperately vying for.

While the continued spread of Covid remains nothing short of a national health crisis, the rapid deployment of multiple vaccines promises to “gradually unleash a new wave of spending on travel and services, driving robust growth in the later part of 2021,” according to analysis from IHS Markit.

IHS expects the global economy will recover this year—led by North America and Asia—after a 4 percent decline in 2020. In fact, the international economy is expected to see growth of up to 5 percent by the end of 2021, “if another modest stimulus bill is implemented and a highly successful Covid-19 inoculation program is well underway by summer,” it wrote in mid-December.

Many Americans have begun to receive stimulus checks since then, and incoming president Joe Biden has vowed to make further relief an urgent priority if Congress is unable to push through more funding in the coming weeks. Whether consumers opt to spend their expected $600 checks, invigorating the American economy and fueling flailing businesses, could largely depend on their confidence in a return to normalcy—starting with the swearing in of the incoming president they elected in November.

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