WASHINGTON – The U.S. House failed Thursday to override President Joe Biden's first veto — of a Republican-led bill that would have banned the consideration of environmental, social or governance issues in retirement and other investment decisions.
Republicans failed to mount the necessary two-thirds votes needed in the House to override the president's veto of the “ESG” investment bill. The override failed on a 219-200 vote mostly along party lines as most Democrats opposed.
The standoff was a first test of the strength of the new Republican majority in the House as it confronts the Democratic president in the White House.
House Republicans had succeeded in passing the legislation through Congress last month, part of their agenda to undo so-called “woke” government policies that strive to bring new ways of thinking about social and environmental issues with equity and accountability.
The legislation was a pushback against the idea of “ESG” investing, which takes into account a company's environmental social and governance record, including on issues like climate change.
Including such factors in financial planning has gained in popularity as Americans seek different options for where they park their retirement savings and other investments.
The U.S. Department of Labor had issued a rule last December saying investment plan fiduciaries may consider climate change and other environmental, social, and governance factors in making investment decisions.
But the newly empowered House Republicans sought to roll back the Labor Department rule and effectively reinstate a Trump-era policy banning the investment practice. The measure gained some support in the Democratic-held Senate.
Using special procedures, the House and Senate approved the rollback with a simple majority in both chambers, but there was not enough support in Congress to mount the veto override.