The lawmakers’ letter was an early warning shot earlier, which could be a significant effort by Congress next year to undo some of Trump’s eleven-hour policy changes. The 1996 Congressional Review Act gave lawmakers 60 days to repeal basic rules issued by federal agencies. The tool was used only once before 2017, when the Republican-controlled chamber overturned 16 ordinances issued by President Barack Obama during the period before Trump took office. Whether the Democrats will have such success in reversing the rules passed in Trump’s last days may depend on the outcome of two January Senate run-offs scheduled for Jan. 5, which will determine who controls the upper house next year.
Under the Congressional Review Act, the 60-day basic rule review clock will be reset at the beginning of the next Congress ̵
Nadler and Maloney stressed that previous presidential lame periods, from Bill Clinton in 2000 to George W. Bush in 2008 to Barack Obama in 2016, have emerged in recent days. In 2016, Obama’s outgoing Administrator in the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs called on agencies to avoid a “year-end quarrel” over new rules, and lawmakers asked Woote and Ray to issue a similar warning to the Trump administration.
The two Democratic presidents sent a similar letter Monday to the head of the government’s accountability service, the congressional independent oversight body, to “closely monitor federal agencies for potential health, safety, and environmental deviations from the outgoing Trump administration.” GAO has taken the lead in determining when regulations issued by executive agencies qualify as “basic” rules that give Congress the power to review or repeal.