The Atlantic

How to Undo One of Trump’s Worst, Most Despicable Policies

With patient, painstaking work
Source: Katie Martin / The Atlantic

As President Joe Biden takes office, his administration will get to work reversing some of the Trump administration’s most controversial and destructive policies, including the elimination of key environmental protections, the creation of new immigration restrictions, and the sabotage of the Affordable Care Act.

After the Georgia runoffs, it’s tempting to think that a Democratic Congress could just legislate these policies away. But the Senate filibuster is likely to remain intact for now, effectively giving Republicans a veto over legislative efforts to undo President Donald Trump’s regulatory legacy.

Nor can President Biden reverse the damage just by signing a fat stack of executive orders. Instead, the law requires federal agencies to follow certain procedures—many quite persnickety—when they make changes to government policy. And reversing Trump-era policy will be all the more difficult because that administration used its remaining days in office to create additional procedural obstacles to insulate its decisions from reversal.

The Biden administration will therefore have to balance a desire for speed against the need to protect its actions from court challenges. The threat of judicial review looms especially large with zealous conservatives who view the administrative state with suspicion and who are unlikely to take a charitable view of the new administration’s actions.

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