House Republicans on Tuesday gave an official thumbs down to a Biden administration rule that encourages investment managers for retirement plans to make “environmental, social, and governance factors” a consideration in investment decisions.
A rule developed by the Department of Labor encourages managers who oversee private retirement plans to consider how companies deal with climate change and other issues in making investments. The rule frees those managers from only focusing solely on investors’ bottom line, according to Fox News.
“Congress must act to block the Biden administration’s recent rule that green lights so-called ESG investing in millions of Americans’ retirement plans,” Republican Rep. Andy Barr of Kentucky, who introduced the resolution, said during the debate, according to USA Today.
On Tuesday, the resolution, which is largely symbolic, passed 216-204. Thirteen members did not vote, according to the roll call, which showed only one Democrat, Rep. Jared Golden of Maine, voted for the resolution.
The resolution’s next stop is the Democrat-controlled Senate, where its future is uncertain.
Should the resolution pass, it would go to the White House, where a veto awaits, according to Fox News. Congress would then get the chance to override that veto, but it would take a two-thirds majority, which would require far greater support than the resolution attracted Tuesday.
Republicans indicated the resolution was a line in the sand for them.
Republican Rep. Michael Burgess of Texas said it was an important step to battle the “woke ESG agenda.”
“Democrats and their radical environmental [non-governmental organization] allies will continue to work in the shadows, strong-arming and intimidating corporations and investors alike, using any means necessary, to conscript the life savings of pensioners and retirees to implement a dangerous … investment strategy,” Burgess said, according to The Hill.
Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina said the rule indicates how liberals want to force their agenda on the private sector.
“The left is using ESG investment criteria as a political tool to cudgel companies into accepting leftist policies,” she said, according to Fox News. “This is how the left always operates. This is just the first step. If we let this continue, the left will use ESG investing to push non-compliant companies out of the marketplace.”
“It is unacceptable to encourage fiduciaries to sacrifice the savings of Americans to the orthodoxy of the woke left,” Foxx said.
Republican Rep. Glenn Grothman of Wisconsin said the rule was “an ideological push on corporations.”
“This to further push down on them and say, ‘Here you are, Mr. Big Corporation, we’ll give you a nice pat on the back if we use all of your stockholders’ money to promote a political agenda,’” he said.
Republican Rep. Bob Good of Virginia said that if the rule, which he called part of the “phony climate movement,” was in the best interests of retirement funds, ESG stocks “would get those investment dollars anyway without this new rule.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has rejected the ESG philosophy, USA Today noted, citing a passage in his new book, “The Courage to Be Free: Florida’s Blueprint for America’s Revival.”
“ESG provides a pretext for CEOs to use shareholder assets to target issues like reducing the use of fossil fuels and restricting Second Amendment rights. It is, in effect, a way for the political left to achieve through corporate power what they cannot achieve at the ballot box,” DeSantis wrote.
Former President Donald Trump touted his own anti-ESG efforts in a recent video.
TRUMP ON ESG: “These poorly performing woke financial scams are radical left garbage that would never be funded on their own and certainly never be funded on their own merits. The entire ESG scheme is designed to funnel your retirement money to the maniacs on the radical left” pic.twitter.com/tiFBnGkagQ
— ALX 🇺🇸 (@alx) February 24, 2023
“These poorly performing woke financial scams are radical left garbage that would never be funded on their own and certainly never be funded on their own merits,” the 2024 presidential candidate said. “The entire ESG scheme is designed to funnel your retirement money to the maniacs on the radical left.”
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