House Democrats banded together on Thursday, blocking an attempt by Republican House members to override President Biden’s first veto, used to kill a bipartisan effort to prevent the consideration of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) factors when deciding how to invest Americans’ retirement nest eggs.
As BizPac Review reported, the bill would have required fund managers to maximize financial returns for investors rather than pursue ESG-related ideological agendas.
In signing his name to the veto, Biden took a swipe at “MAGA House Republicans,” calling out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) by name.
“I just vetoed my first bill. This bill would risk your retirement savings by making it illegal to consider risk factors MAGA House Republicans don’t like,” Biden tweeted on Monday. “Your plan manager should be able to protect your hard-earned savings — whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene likes it or not.”
I just vetoed my first bill.
This bill would risk your retirement savings by making it illegal to consider risk factors MAGA House Republicans don't like.
Your plan manager should be able to protect your hard-earned savings — whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene likes it or not. pic.twitter.com/PxuoJBdEee
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 20, 2023
“I just signed this veto because the legislation passed by the Congress would put at risk the retirement savings of individuals across the country,” Biden claimed. “They couldn’t take into consideration investments that would be impacted by climate, impacted by overpaying executives and that’s why I decided to veto it.”
In November of last year, the Department of Labor cited Biden’s 2021 Executive Order directing “the federal government to identify and assess policies to protect the life savings and pensions of America’s workers and families from the threats of climate-related financial risk” and changed the rules to allow “plan fiduciaries to consider climate change and other environmental, social and governance factors when they select retirement investments and exercise shareholder rights, such as proxy voting.”
Republicans argued that the new rule put retirement savings at risk, as plan managers could now funnel investment money to companies that boast high ESG scores, even if they “routinely perform worse than other companies,” Fox News Digital reports.
“The left is using ESG investment criteria as a political tool to cudgel companies into accepting leftist policies,” said Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.). “If we do not override this veto, the left will use ESG investing to push non-compliant companies out of the marketplace.”
Democrats countered by arguing that the ESG rule allows workers to put their retirement money to work in a way “that reflects their values.”
“I commend the president for his veto,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.). “Workers should be able to invest their retirement savings in a way that reflects their values, such as combating climate change, without sacrificing investment returns.”
The decision to veto the legislation reflects Biden’s true priorities, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) stated.
“Ultimately, President Biden had a choice to make: do you support blue-collar workers who deserve the best benefits in their retirement, or billionaire elites who want to direct your funds into places that get a lower yield?” he asked, according to The Hill. “And I think it’s important to keep trying and, you know, keep fighting for those workers who, when they retire, they want the highest rate of return.”
“And that’s what the bill’s all about,” Scalise continued. “It’s disappointing that Joe Biden sold them out to go help his billionaire friends that want to inject their personal ideology at the expense of lower returns for people when they retire.”
With such a small minority in the House, successfully overriding Biden’s veto was unlikely.
The Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to override a president, and, in the end, the vote came down 219-200, far short of what was needed. Only one Democrat sided with the Republicans.
“Shame,” wrote one Twitter user. “Woke investments are the most horrid investments at the moment. This essentially guarantees pensions will vanish.”
“There goes our retirement,” stated another.
Woke investments are the most horrid investments at the moment.
This essentially guarantees pensions will vanish.
— Mocking the Media (@Emmeric1964) March 23, 2023
There goes our retirement.
— Greg Mock (@GregMock2) March 24, 2023
One more nail in the coffin that was once America!
— JustLabs (@GiveMeDogs) March 23, 2023
Lovely. And funny how it wasn’t that long ago that ESG was a conspiracy theory. Now being openly flaunted by dems
— Roger Backstrom (@Dadof2OU) March 23, 2023
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