Biden Vetoes ESG Retirement Investing Bill

President Joe Biden issued the first veto of his presidency this week, vetoing a Republican-led effort to repeal a Biden administration policy regarding environmental, social, and governance investing in retirement accounts.

The president vetoed legislation that would have barred the use of ESG tenets in retirement investments.

The resolution intended to overturn the Department of Labor’s “Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights” rule that conservatives say empowers a number of left-wing political causes through retirement investments.

The joint resolution stated that Congress “disapproves the rule” submitted by the Labor Department and that “such rule shall have no force or effect.”

While Republicans garnered some Democratic Party support in Congress to pass the bill, it is unlikely that they have the votes to overturn the veto.

Criticism of the president’s veto was strong and included several high-profile conservatives and one prominent Democrat.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), a possible 2024 presidential contender, wrote on Twitter that he created a “coalition” of 20 “freedom-loving states to combat the threat posed by ESG.” He said that this agreement between states “will protect our citizens against powerful economic actors using their financial might to impose an ideological agenda.”

House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) criticized what he called a “woke ESG rule” in a statement Monday. The speaker said that the veto was “against a bipartisan bill that protects retirement savings from political interference.”

McCarthy also wrote that the president sought to have Wall Street “use your hard-earned money not to grow your savings, but to fund a far-left political agenda.” He wrote that such ESG investing would harm older Americans and the working class especially.

The bill’s author, Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) also critiqued the president’s action, stating that the veto is a “shame” and that it reflects Biden’s “priorities and who he really represents in office.”

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is up for re-election in 2024, reproached Biden’s veto. He said that the White House was prioritizing “their radical policy agenda” over the needs of the country. He said that the veto was “absolutely infuriating.”