With the Stroke of a Pen: What Executive Branch Actions Can President-elect Trump “Undo” on Day One?

Source: CRS Reports & Analysis, Legal Sidebar, November 22, 2016

Throughout the campaign, Donald Trump suggested that, if elected, he would rescind significant pieces of the Obama Administration’s domestic policy. Now that President-elect Trump will assume the duties and powers of the presidency at noon on January 20, 2017, questions have been raised regarding what types of executive branch actions he can, in fact, unilaterally and immediately revoke. While the Constitution does not permit the President to single-handedly repeal or amend statutes, there is much that a new President can do to rapidly reverse the policies of a previous administration.

The process and expediency by which an executive action can be rescinded depends on the type of action in question and the existence of any statutorily or judicially imposed restraints. Generally, most executive actions can be broken down into three basic categories: executive orders, which are written directives issued by the President that govern the actions of executive branch officials and agencies; discretionary agency directives and guidance documents, which are agency policy or interpretive pronouncements that are not issued pursuant to formalized procedures and do not have the force and effect of law; and agency rules, which are issued pursuant to delegated authority from Congress—typically pursuant to notice and comment rulemaking procedures— and have the force and effect of law….
“Major” Obama Administration Rules Potentially Eligible to be Overturned under the Congressional Review Act in the 115th Congress
Source: Congressional Research Service, CRS Memorandum, November 17, 2016