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Here Are the Obama Executive Orders Trump Is Likely to Repeal

by Countable | 3.20.17

President-Elect Donald Trump made repealing President Obama’s executive orders a central part of his campaign, and once he’s sworn in on January 20, 2017, he’ll have an opportunity to break out a pen and make good on those promises.

To be clear, no can say with complete certainty at this point which specific executive orders Trump will overturn once he’s in the White House. But we went through all of the 200+ executive orders that Obama has issued and picked out some of those that are among the most likely to be repealed or at least scrutinized when Trump takes office.

First, what are Executive Orders and how are they repealed?

Presidents issue executive orders to give direction to the federal agencies that fall under the executive branch’s control in terms of how they implement the law. They have to cite where the authority to issue a particular executive order comes from — either through the Constitution or legislation passed by Congress — but as long as they pass legal muster, executive orders have the full force of law.

Executive orders are subject to judicial review, so if the courts find that the president has overstepped their authority in issuing a particular order, it can be struck down. But the easiest way for an incoming president to undo their predecessor’s work is by simply issuing an executive order of his own that repeals an existing order.

For example, 10 days after President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, he issued Executive Order 13497 to revoke President George W. Bush’s 2002 Executive Order 13258, which expanded the role of the vice president in reviewing and planning the administration’s regulatory goals. (Incidentally, Bush’s executive order heavily amended an earlier order (12866) issued by President Bill Clinton nine years before that).

Presidents can also take executive action in other ways. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was created through a "presidential memorandum," while Obama’s Clean Power Plan came about because of a plan drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency. Because these cornerstones of Obama’s agenda came about through different processes, we’ll explain those in an upcoming piece. For now, back to the executive orders:

Guantanamo Bay/Torture

Just two days after taking office in 2009, President Obama issued a trio of executive orders to close the detention facility at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and curb "enhanced interrogation techniques." The orders (13491, 13492, 13493) called for the detention facility to be closed and for the government to assess other options for housing and trying detainees. It also prohibited U.S. personnel from using unapproved interrogation techniques, which he defined as torture.

Not only has President-Elect Trump said that he is going to keep the detention facility open, he has also said that he intends to "load it up with some bad dudes." Moreover, Trump has said that he’s not opposed to the use of waterboarding by U.S. forces and it has been suggested by his potential selection for CIA Director that the practice could return. This makes the likelihood of Obama’s Guantanamo Bay executive orders surviving long into Trump’s presidency practically nil.

Federal Contractors

During the last few years of his administration, Obama signed several executive orders related to federal contractors.

In February 2014, he issued one that set the minimum wage for all federal contractors at $10.10 per hour beginning in 2015 and established a process for increasing it over time. He then issued a July 2014 executive order to prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. And in September 2015, Obama required all federal contractors to give their employees paid sick leave, allowing them to accrue up to seven days of paid sick leave annually.

Trump has called for shrinking the size of the federal workforce through attrition and opposes increases in the minimum wage, so he may look to undo the pay increase for government contractors (which exceeds the federal minimum wage) and reduce their benefits. Members of Congress have also tried to eliminate the executive order banning discrimination by contractors on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, so the president-elect could face political pressure to undo it himself (though he hasn’t said he would do so).

Climate Change

In October 2009, President Obama issued an executive order that called on federal agencies to set targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Four years later in November 2013, he issued another that called for federal agencies to take steps to prepare the nation for the effects of and risks posed by climate change.

President-Elect Donald Trump has called fears over climate change overblown and opposes limits on carbon emissions, so President Obama’s executive orders on the subject probably have the same odds of survival as a snowball on a warm summer day.

Where’s Congress in all of this?

Your lawmakers have the ability to pass bills to block executive orders or make them into law so that they can’t be undone with the stroke of a new president’s pen. They also have authority over the funding that gets provided or withheld for these policies to the extent that federal funds are used, so make sure they hear your voice by using the "Take Action" button.

— Eric Revell

Countable

Written by Countable

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(42)
  • sotirisg27
    11/18/2016
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    It worries me that this coming administration seems keen to ignore environmental issues such as climate change or the ever increasing scarcity of fossil fuels. It seems that we will keep pushing these issues away until it is too big to ignore it too late to change.

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  • Eileen
    11/18/2016
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    I'm worried that Trump will overturn key Executive Orders protecting the Dreamers, finally addressing climate change, and preventing torture. These Executive Orders were necessary because of an obstructionist, do-nothing Congress. Trump will overturn all the progress we've made under Obamacare.

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  • Cris-Gato
    11/18/2016
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    Obamacare has saved tens of not hundreds of thousands of American citizens lives. It has improved the lives of millions of Americans by providing citizens affordable and accessible healthcare. If Donald or the Republicants touch it they'll be signing the death warrant on thousands of citizens and families. Torture has been proven to be useless and in fact counter productive. That's why the Pentagon, CIA, and the joint Chiefs have not wanted to use it. Repealing any of Obama's orders sends us back 50 years if not to the Middle Ages.

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  • John
    11/18/2016
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    Can Trump even read?

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  • Frank
    11/18/2016
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    The ambiguity of the phrase "bad dudes" worries me. What does that phrase mean? Confessed terrorists? War criminals? Or people who criticize the government?

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  • Christina
    11/21/2016
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    Having run a small business for 30 years and providing health care to all our employees and families I can tell you it wasn't ACA that made prices go so high. Prices were skyrocketing long before ,which is why Republicans and Demacrats were both writing plans to help fix the problem. We complained long before Obama was even thinking of running for president. It is a complex issuing involving young and old alike. Then there are Doctors, testing facilities, Hospitals, pharma and insurance co. All of whom want to make money on us. So please stop spewing such hateful reteric based on conspiracy theory. It makes you look foolish and does nothing to help solve real health care issues for families including mine who now all use ACA. Do I like the increases, of course not. But please let's deal in reality and facts and fix it. As far as climate change goes, continue to keep your head in the sand and one day you will wake up and find your house unber water or your yard on fire, or your well dry or your water contaminated or your food not at the grocery store because you keep denying what science has put in front of you. I find it interesting that some people love science when it helps them but if they have to make a change it's all a conspiracy theory. Even Exxon is investing in other energy forms and sciences. Go check it out if you don't believe it. Lastly all this hate you have will eat you up if you're not careful.

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  • politicalbrooke
    11/19/2016
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    I can't believe there are still people (including the future PRESIDENT) who refuse to accept the facts that scientists have prevented. Climate change is real and if we don't take action now then our time on earth won't last much longer.

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  • Scott
    11/18/2016
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    Orville, it pains my soul to read the absolute horror of your soul and lack of any kind of human deciency. Your words reveal the ugliness of why we should reject "Hatred" in all it's forms and across all races and genders.

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  • Harrison
    11/17/2016
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    Water boarding at Guantanamo Bay brah, gonna get me a sick ass tan like DT! 🏄🏼

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  • Emma
    11/19/2016
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    Dear climate change deniers: Oil scarcity is a result of the lengthy and specific process that organic matter must undergo to become oil. Ever had your compost pile turn into oil? No, because the vast majority of material just decomposes, and even if you created the right conditions for it to eventually become oil, it would take millions of years and this species probably won't survive that long. So when you talk about us discovering more oil like that resolves the issue, you are implying that we don't know how much oil is on our planet. Actually, we have a pretty good idea, because of science. And if we burned all of it, our planet would be a wasteland somewhat resembling Mars. We would not be able to breathe our air. Our water would be too acidic to use for agriculture, if anything could even survive in our soils. See, the CO2 that we are putting in the atmosphere combines to makes water acidic. That's chemistry for you. And that's in addition to being a greenhouse gas (trapping some of the heat that is being reflected off the surface of this planet, which incidentally is absorbing more heat, in part because our planet's warming is mostly centered over the poles, which is causing melting of the reflective ice caps, which is decreasing the planet's ability to reflect away some of the sun's heat energy and contributing to sea level rise, which is producing climate change refugees...). Let's not even get into how many are dying of pollution. How many deaths should we accept for the profit of oil companies? And oh, do tell me how climate change scientists are "in it for the profit" because a few of my professors would have some choice words for you. Frankly, short-sighted economic incentives are on the side of continuing our planetary destruction, and leaving future generations (including mine, which was born into this mess) to suffer and die. Furthermore, the children of Big Oil will not die of these growing things like clean water shortages and resulting food shortages. Their parents will have made enough money that they will survive. These crises will disproportionately hit those who cannot pay an exorbitant premium for things that are necessary to sustain life. In fact, if you believe in the sanctity of our constitution so much, you should fight with all you've got to stop the destruction of our climate, because it is going to deny a lot of people "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

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  • Djgw
    11/18/2016
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    Orville, you need to stop watching Fox News and get educated. Your perception of things is very twisted.

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  • Randy
    11/19/2016
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    NO Orville you DF 1st W. Is the one that signed the papers saying when we would pull out of Iraq. 2nd once again your boy W. Started ISIS when he invaded Iraq under false pretenses. Learn how to read and quit watching FIOX news. Y.S.F.R.N. M. F.

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  • Stephen
    11/18/2016
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    A vast number of climate scientists have claimed that very little of climate change is man made. Climate alarmists are in it for the money and power. The "ever increasing scarcity of fossil fuels" is a myth. More and more sources of fossil fuels have been discovered in recent years. ObamaCare has been the biggest sham ever perpetrated on our county, it destroyed an entire industry, cost many people the health care they had and wrecked our economy. The liberals don't get to dictate to us any more.

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  • Alyssa
    11/20/2016
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    Oh my god, climate change is real. What is going on with this war on facts? Scientists spend their whole lives doing their jobs---let them. Our government is supposed to listen and lead us appropriately. Not try to dismiss science, in an effort to gain short term profit from cheap fossil fuels, and confuse millions of Americans. Politicians don't know science. Scientists know science.

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  • Michael
    11/19/2016
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    It's not the amount of executive orders. It's the number of ones that violate the constitution that's the problem.

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  • Orville
    11/18/2016
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    You Snow "Flakes" that support BHO and believe that he saved lives during his presidency need to pull all of the participant trophies out of your asses and pay attention to what is going on in the world as a result of this idiot and HRC as Secretary of State. Withdrawal from Iraq, regardless of your feelings towards the war was absolutely the most stupid military move since Santa Anna tried to defeat Sam Hoiston. Leaving without ANY support to Iraq got the world ISIS. Yep, BHO and HRC started ISIS as a result of providing them the avenues and the country to grow. How many deaths, American or other nationality, that have been lost because of these two ASS HOLES that should have never made it out of the womb. Where was late stage abortion when these two were conceived? What a terrible mark their legacies have left on the world. On January 20, 2016 w will awaken to a new world and these two morons can go away into the "anals" ( correct spelling) of history.

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  • Nancy
    11/19/2016
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    If you all will recall, when Obama was elected republicans promised to block him at every step. They did and now some of you have the audacity to find fault with him? Seriously!

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  • Christopher
    11/19/2016
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    Hi David, Can you specify which executive orders should be repealed, and help everyone understand exactly how the repeal of each of those orders will restore America to greatness? It might be helpful, so all of the obviously ignorant liberals and lefties can finally understand exactly why it's a national imperative to rescind Obama's executive orders.

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  • Maria
    11/19/2016
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    Amkoffee, The last time that I looked there numbers were, per their time in office: Obama - 256; Bush (W.) - 291; Clinton - 364; Bush (Sr.) - 166; Reagan - 381; Carter - 320; Ford - 169; Nixon - 346. From www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

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  • Robbie
    11/19/2016
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    Please make it a law to preserve and protect our environment!we can't let ignorant bigots tell is that we are not in danger when it is obvious that we are.

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