The research arm for Congress said the legislative branch has the authority to delay or reverse President Trump's new policy banning transgender people from serving in the military.
According to a new analysis from the Congressional Research Service obtained by the Federation of American Scientists, Congress can take legislative action in response to the president's ban, which was announced Wednesday.
"Congress may choose to defer or delegate authority to [Department of Defense] for policies and regulations regarding accession, separation, and healthcare for transgender service members," the Congressional Research Service said in its report, issued Wednesday. "Alternatively, Congress may draft legislation to affect such administration policy, under its authority to make laws governing the armed forces. In its oversight role, Congress may decide to initiative further review of policy implications through hearings or studies."
The finding was first reported by Politico.
The president announced in three tweets Wednesday that transgender people would no longer be allowed to serve in the military "in any capacity."
Trump's new transgender ban was a reversal from a policy implemented by former President Barack Obama, which allowed transgender people in the military to serve openly.
Obama's defense secretary, Ash Carter, also instructed the service chiefs to come up with new policies to begin allowing new transgender recruits, or accessions. Implementation of those policies was delayed for six months by Trump's secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, last month.
The president's announcement was criticized by both Republicans and Democrats who said all should have a chance to serve. Other lawmakers said the military should have more time to review such a policy change.
But unhappy lawmakers may have a chance to act before Trump's new policy takes effect, according to the Congressional Research Service.
"President Trump's tweets indicate that the accession policy changes that would have allowed transgender individuals to join the military are no longer under consideration. The tweets also imply that there will be a change to the 2016 policy allowing transgender members currently in the military to continue to serve," the Congressional Research Service said. "Given this announcement, Congress may wish to consider the potential effects of the policy shift and whether to take legislative action in response."