from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2016, Issue No. 96
November 23, 2016

Secrecy News Blog:


The steps that the incoming Trump Administration could take to revise or reverse policies of the Obama Administration are considered in several new publications from the Congressional Research Service.

"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," CRS explained.

The ease of altering existing policies depends on how those policies were promulgated in the first place: by executive order, through agency policy statements, or through agency rules.

"The President can immediately revoke, modify, or supersede executive orders issued by a predecessor."

"A new President can also immediately direct the heads of executive branch agencies to withdraw discretionary directives and guidance documents that were issued by an executive agency during a previous administration."

"Agency rules and regulations may also be repealed by a new administration; however, the repeal process can be time consuming and must comply with certain mandated procedures."

See With the Stroke of a Pen: What Executive Branch Actions Can President-elect Trump "Undo" on Day One?, CRS Legal Sidebar, November 22, 2016:

See also: Can a New Administration Undo a Previous Administration's Regulations?, CRS Insight, November 21, 2016:

The Obama Administration's 2014 Immigration Initiative: Looking Back at What the Obama Administration Has Done-- and Ahead to the Trump Administration, CRS Legal Sidebar, November 22, 2016:

"Major" Obama Administration Rules Potentially Eligible to be Overturned under the Congressional Review Act in the 115th Congress, CRS Memorandum, November 17, 2016:

Other new or updated reports from the Congressional Research Service include the following.

The Budget Reconciliation Process: The Senate's "Byrd Rule", updated November 22, 2016:

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): Proposed Legislation in the 114th Congress, November 21, 2016:

Five-Year Program for Federal Offshore Oil and Gas Leasing: Status and Issues in Brief, November 21, 2016:

Unique Identification Codes for Federal Contractors: DUNS Numbers and CAGE Codes, November 21, 2016:

The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Block Grant: A Primer on TANF Financing and Federal Requirements, updated November 21, 2016:

Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress, updated November 18, 2016:

Venezuela: Background and U.S. Relations, updated November 21, 2016:

Barriers Along the U.S. Borders: Key Authorities and Requirements, updated November 18, 2016:


Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

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