Vice president-elect Pence met this morning with House Republicans. According to what I’ve been told by a member who was present, Pence said that Donald Trump will cut short his inauguration parade so he can go to the Oval Office and rescind many of President Obama’s executive orders. In addition, as I understand it, Trump will take immediate action to begin undoing some of the administration’s regulations.
There are limits to a president’s power to overturn regulations. For regulations enacted within the last eight months, Trump can ask Congress to use the Congressional Review Act. It allows Congress to bypass filibusters in the Senate to overturn recently issued regulations.
This procedure would apply to regulations issued since May 2016, of which there are many. For older regulations, Team Trump will have to undertake a protracted administrative process.
Pence reportedly told House Republicans that some of the executive action Trump plans to take on Inauguration Day will pertain to Obamacare. Trump can’t repeal the Affordable Care Act; nor will he want to gut it through executive orders until serious thought has been given to how to replace the Act.
Indeed, Pence reportedly has spoken in terms of using executive action to “smooth” the transition away from Obamacare, not to bring Obamacare to an immediate and grinding halt. Thus, whatever executive action Trump takes regarding Obamacare on Day 1 may be mainly symbolic.
Symbolically, cutting his parade short in order immediately to undo some of Obama’s handiwork would be a great way for Trump to kick off his administration. Substantively, in many areas, it would also make for a nice beginning.