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Biden vetoes bipartisan ESG ban

By Elizabeth Delaney
|
March 21, 2023

In a move many are saying is an assault on the retirement savings of Americans, President Biden vetoed a bipartisan environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) investing ban on Monday.

Biden's first Veto is a bipartisan bill

Holding to comments from several weeks earlier, Biden vetoed the bipartisan bill his first since taking office as president, according to Fox News.

Executive Director of Heritage Action, Jessica Anderson, said in a statement on Monday following the veto that, "President Biden has used his first presidential veto to overrule the bipartisan Congressional Review Act resolution that would have protected the retirement accounts and 401(k)s of more than 150 million Americans by blocking the Department of Labor's dangerous ESG rule."

She went on to note that the rule "prioritized a radical Left-wing agenda" and that it "allows the federal government to use taxpayer money to work against American taxpayers' values and financial interests."

She further pointed out that ESG policies "focus more on funding partisan pet projects like the Green New Deal rather than giving Americans the highest returns on investments.

It also reverses the important fiduciary requirement of Congress's Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a law designed to establish minimum standards for employer-provided retirement benefits," she said.

Several members of Congress speak out in disapproval of Biden's veto

Several members of congress expressed their ire over Biden's first veto.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said that the president was valuing "radical" social agendas above the American people.

"This Administration continues to prioritize their radical policy agenda over the economic, energy and national security needs of our country, and it is absolutely infuriating," Manchin wrote in a statement picked up by Fox News.

"West Virginians are under increasing stress as we continue to recover from a once in a generation pandemic, pay the bills amid record inflation, and face the largest land war in Europe since World War II. The Administration’s unrelenting campaign to advance a radical social and environmental agenda is only exacerbating these challenges," he added.

"President Biden’s first veto is on a bipartisan, bicameral measure that I championed through Congress to protect retail investors," Rep. Andy Barr (KY-06) told Fox News.

"Instead of siding with Americans—who are increasingly unable to afford retirement—Biden’s veto puts the climate activists and special interest groups he is beholden to ahead of middle-class American investors," he said.

"It’s a shame, and it further reflects his priorities and who he really represents in office," Barr added.

Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) also offered some strong criticism of the veto, saying that "Today President Biden used his first veto to reject bipartisan consensus in the House and Senate that Americans’ retirement savings should be invested to get the best return, not to support woke nonsense."

"Biden’s woke ESG agenda is unfair to Americans and does nothing but drive American industry to other countries," Rep. Austin Scott (GA-08) reported Fox.

Biden's efforts to placate environmentalists

It's believed by some that part of the reasoning for Biden's veto of the bipartisan bill is connected to wanting to placate environmentalists who have expressed their ire about the administration's
controversial approval of the Willow oil project, a huge drilling project set to take place in Alaska, according to AP News.

As an election year that includes the seats of several Democratic senators, Biden's move may also suggest the shifting of the White House's relations with the new Congress that was able to obtain control of the Hosue in January, according to AP News.