House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Monday criticized President Joe Biden’s decision to veto a bipartisan bill that would block a Labor Department rule promoting climate and other environmental, social, and governance factors in investing retirees’ money.
“President Biden’s first veto is against a bipartisan bill that protects retirement savings from political interference,” McCarthy, R-Calif., said in a written statement.
“It is clear that President Biden wants Wall Street to use your hard-earned money not to grow your savings, but to fund a far-left political agenda. That will hurt seniors and workers, especially after President Biden’s reckless spending caused record inflation and rapid interest rate hikes,” McCarthy added.
According to the Labor Department, its rule “allows 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.”
The ESG rule, the agency added, “follows Executive Order 14030, which was signed by President Biden on May 20, 2021.”
Last month, Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky., and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., introduced resolutions of disapproval to block the Labor Department rule; those measures succeeded in both the House and the Senate, on Feb.28 and March 1, respectively.
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., sided with Republicans.
“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 said in a written statement following Biden’s veto of the measure. “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,” the West Virginia Democrat added.
“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 said in a video tweeted out Monday. “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. It makes sense to veto it.”
Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action for America, the grassroots arm of The Heritage Foundation, commented on Biden’s veto. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
“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,” Anderson said in a formal statement, referring to environmental, social, and governance standards in investing.
“Prioritizing a radical Left-wing political agenda, this rule allows the federal government to use taxpayer money to work against American taxpayers’ values and financial interests,” she said.
“Congress should override President Biden’s veto of this bipartisan resolution and continue their work on a policy agenda that will protect the livelihoods and financial interests of the American people,” Anderson added.
“President Biden added insult to injury with today’s veto,” Andrew Olivastro, Heritage’s vice president of outreach, told The Daily Signal in a statement, adding:
He chose the radical woke mob over Americans’ retirement security and ensured our own money will be used against our values. The villain doesn’t always wear a cape and a mask, sometimes he hides behind aviators and contrived folky euphemisms.
The Daily Signal asked the White House to respond to the comments on Biden’s veto of the Labor Department rule by McCarthy, Manchin, Olivastro, and Anderson.
White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates replied by email, apparently only to mock the fact that The Daily Signal is affiliated with The Heritage Foundation.
“The Heritage Foundation ‘received the following comment’ from the Heritage Foundation?” Bates wrote to The Daily Signal. “How’d you manage that?”
“This month, Congress exercised its powers under the Congressional Review Act to disapprove of the Department of Labor rule relating to ‘Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights,’” the governors’ joint statement said. “Yet again, President Biden put his political agenda above the wellbeing and individual freedoms of hardworking Americans.”
“We as freedom-loving states can work together and leverage our state pension funds to force change in how major asset managers invest the money of hardworking Americans, ensuring corporations are focused on maximizing shareholder value, rather than the proliferation of woke ideology,” the GOP governors said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is leading the alliance, which also includes Govs. Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Spencer Cox of Utah, Jim Justice of West Virginia, Mark Gordon of Wyoming, and Kay Ivey of Alabama, among others.
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