EXCLUSIVE: Every Republican senator and Democrat Joe Manchin are introducing legislation that they hope will terminate the Biden administration’s new environment, social and governance (ESG) rule, which they say “politicizes” the retirement savings for 152 million Americans.
The Biden administration’s Department of Labor unveiled a rule in November, set to go into effect on Jan. 30, that allows retirement plan managers to factor environmental and social issues into investment decisions.
The bipartisan disapproval resolution led by Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., will be introduced Wednesday and a companion bill in the House will be introduced by Rep. Andy Barr, R-Ky. Congressional passage of the resolution will allow Congress to overrule the administration and kill the regulation.
“President Biden is jeopardizing retirement savings for millions of Americans for a political agenda,” Braun told Fox News Digital.
“In a time when Americans’ 401(k)s have already taken such a hit due to market downturns and record high inflation, the last thing we should do is encourage fiduciaries to make decisions with a lower rate of return for purely ideological reasons. That’s why we are proud to stand up against this rule for the millions of Americans who depend on these funds for their retirement,” the senator from Indiana continued.
A group of 25 states last week filed a federal lawsuit against the Biden administration over the rule, which Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says would put millions of Americans’ safety net retirement plans “at risk.”
“The Biden administration is promoting its climate change agenda by putting everyday people’s retirement money at risk,” Reyes told Fox News Digital. “Americans are already suffering from the current economic downturn.”
In the lawsuit, the states allege that the DOL violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974. The law sets standards for the retirement income of 152 million U.S. workers, equivalent to more than two-thirds of the nation’s adult population, and applies to roughly $12 trillion in assets.
A Braun aide said the resolution will receive a vote on the Senate and House floor in coming weeks.
Under the Congressional Review Act, joint resolutions of disapproval cannot be prevented from being considered on the floor. The resolution will only require a simple majority vote threshold to pass and be sent to Biden, and supporters of the resolution expect at least one more Democrat to support it and pass it in the Senate.
“Retirement plans should be solely focused on delivering maximum returns, not advancing a political agenda,” Barr added.
“If Congress doesn’t block the Department of Labor’s rule greenlighting ESG investing in retirement plans, retirees will suffer diminished returns on the investment of their hard earned money. It’s time for Congress to act and I applaud Senator Braun and our colleagues for renewing this fight.”
The bipartisan legislation has the backing of over 100 groups, according to the aide.
Groups in support include: Advancing American Freedom, Club for Growth, America First Policy Institute, American Accountability Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, Concerned Women for America, Fair Energy Foundation, Heritage Action, Independent Women’s Voice, and more.