EveryCRSReport.com – CRS report – Congress’s Authority to Influence and Control Executive Branch Agencies, Updated December 19, 2018. “The Constitution neither establishes administrative agencies nor explicitly prescribes the manner by which they may be created. Even so, the Supreme Court has generally recognized that Congress has broad constitutional authority to establish and shape the federal bureaucracy. Congress may use its Article I lawmaking powers to create federal agencies and individual offices within those agencies, design agencies’ basic structures and operations, and prescribe, subject to certain constitutional limitations, how those holding agency offices are appointed and removed. Congress also may enumerate the powers, duties, and functions to be exercised by agencies, as well as directly counteract, through later legislation, certain agency actions implementing delegated authority.
The most potent tools of congressional control over agencies, including those addressing the structuring, empowering, regulating, and funding of agencies, typically require enactment of legislation. Such legislation must comport with constitutional requirements related to bicameralism (i.e., it must be approved by both houses of Congress) and presentment (i.e., it must be presented to the President for signature). The constitutional process to enact effective legislation requires the support of the House, Senate, and the President, unless the support in both houses is sufficient to override the President’s veto.
There also are many non-statutory tools (i.e., tools not requiring legislative enactment to exercise) that may be used by the House, Senate, congressional committees, or individual Members of Congress to influence and control agency action. In some cases, non-statutory measures, such as impeachment and removal, Senate advice and consent to appointments or the ratification of treaties, and committee issuance of subpoenas, can impose legal consequences. Others, however, such as House resolutions of inquiry, may not be used to bind agencies or agency officials and rely for their effectiveness on their ability to persuade or influence.”