Climate is the new client: U.S. Senate votes to reverse climate-first investment rules by Biden, but he’ll veto

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President Joe Biden is expected to veto a the Congressional Review Act disapproval of his rule that makes retirement fund managers into political actors, investing according to the whims of ever-changing environmental, social, and corporate governance goals.

The CRA disapproval passed the House earlier, and passed the Senate by a vote of 50-46 on Wednesday.

The resolution is aimed at protecting the retirement accounts for millions of Americans, who don’t realize their fund managers can invest for climate goals, rather than manage workers’ retirement accounts for financial returns and retirement security.

The bipartisan vote in Congress to roll back the Department of Labor Pension Fund rule was the last chance Congress had to undo the damage done to retirement funds of senior citizens and workers of America.

Two Democrats from red-leaning states — Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Sen. Jon Tester of Montana — voted in favor of the measure that had been introduced by Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana.

The White House has said that Biden would veto it, and White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the CRA would give investment professionals less flexibility to make “prudent decisions” and “forces MAGA Republican ideology down the throats of the private sector.”

“On December 1, 2022, DOL issued a final rule on ‘Prudence and Loyalty in Selecting Plan Investments and Exercising Shareholder Rights.’ This rule clarifies that retirement plan fiduciaries may consider climate change and other environmental, social, and governance factors in selecting retirement investments and exercising shareholder rights, when those factors are relevant to the risk and return analysis. The rule reflects what successful marketplace investors already know – there is an extensive body of evidence that environmental, social, and governance factors can have material impacts on certain markets, industries, and companies. Such factors also can be a deciding factor among investments that equally serve the financial interests of the plan over the appropriate time horizon and that put the interests of the plan participants and their beneficiaries first and the federal government should not restrict that choice for plan managers. DOL issued the final rule after receiving extensive feedback from the public that revealed that the previous Administration’s rules in this area created problematic impediments for plan fiduciaries seeking to act in the best interests of America’s workers when making investment decisions,” the White House said in a prepared statement.

The congressional resolution takes the rules back to how they were originally designed by Congress when the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which set minimum standards to provide protection to individuals in voluntarily established retirement plans.

The Biden rule makes climate change the client, and workers have no protection from the government against activist investment managers who decide they don’t like oil, or who allow their ideologies to take over their investment decisions.

“Generations of policymakers have worked hard to protect workers from having their pension money gambled away by investment professionals. Longstanding federal policy required pension fund fiduciaries to invest solely for the financial benefit of retirees (and future retirees), but now the Department of Labor wants to change the rules so that investment managers can use pension funds to promote unrelated social and environmental activist goals instead. That’s dangerous, irresponsible, and in direct violation of the law that has protected the pensions of working Americans for roughly half a century,” the Competitive Enterprise Institute said on its website, in response to the Biden pending veto.

“The bipartisan vote in Congress to roll back the current, misguided Department of Labor pension fund rule should be affirmed by President Biden, not vetoed. By opposing it, the president puts himself on the side of arrogant activists in the financial world who think they have the right to play politics with the retirement future of millions of Americans. President should stand with hard-working retirees instead,” the group said.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Wait. How can a president make a law without Congress, but to undo it requires an act of Congress?

    • This isn’t a country with rule of law. This is an anarcho-tyranny with gangsters making the rules as they go.

  2. Imagine the hubris it takes to believe than man has F’D up the environment so bad in 100 yrs that we are all on the verge of extinction and in the same thought that some politicians with their green leap forward is to save humanity.
    with most of the same people cheering and calling for a much more likely nuclear winter due to the U.S. aggression against 2 nuclear powers

  3. “forces MAGA Republican ideology down the throats of the private sector.”
    .
    Curious how “the investment fund manager has a fiduciary duty to invest retirement funds for maximum growth” is some kind of MAGA ideology.
    Is there anyone who thinks their retirement savings should be invested in things that are iffy? That have demonstrated over time to lose money?

  4. No problem, Veto it and then the House should defund the organizations that are supporting this. GAME ON

  5. I’m so tired of Grandpa blaming everything on “MAGA this/MAGA that.”

    But if that’s all he can remember, he has to go with what he can articulate.

    I’d love to see a debate between Biden and Fetterman.

    When you watch your retirement and pensions go to pay for things designed to cripple this nation, remember: Orange Man made mean tweets!

    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  6. Simply amazing! A life-long criminal Democrat, with advancing Alzheimer’s Disease, acting as a counterfeit president, telling investment managers of $ hundreds of billions (if not $trillions), how to invest retirement savings for Americans. This POS president probably has a personal kick-back scheme implanted in his legislation. Climate change is taking place rapidly in this current president’s own brain.

  7. The Republic is being destroyed by Biden – one executive order at a time. Where are the checks and balances? What is the status of the investigation of the Biden crime family? Will there be an impeachment process or is McCarthy another RINO? Will anyone be held accountable for crimes against humanity?

  8. Better cash in your 401(k) pronto. The 40% hit you take in early withdrawal will seem like chump change compared to the negative numbers these clowns will leave you with when they are done draining it all out of YOUR account and into theirs.

  9. Speaking of Biden. News says a Russian Ogliarch billionaire was looking at property in the US and had lunch with Biden and his son. Since the early 2000’s he pumped more than a billion dollars in bribes to the US. Later, he was penalized $850 million dollars. Talk about a slap on the wrist.

  10. Trump hasn’t been president for 3 years and these paranoid democrats continue to see him as the boogeyman in their dreams . It’s like they have something to hide if he wins in 2024 . I really hope he does win because I want to see a lot of people under the spotlight of suspicion.

  11. Tools used to fight this include anti-trust, RICO, Sarbanes – Oxley, and any number of pieces of financial legislation aimed at malfeasance by investment houses.

    It is ironic that Biden, as always a trailing indicator, pushed ESG right at the point it is getting killed off by the general public. Cheers –

  12. I don’t quite understand the outrage over this one. The proposed change does not mandate investment changes in any way. It does not force investment into alternatives, it just provides the option should it be desired. Since when does opening up more freedom of choice equal a bad thing? If you get a rogue investment manager who invests in a weak performing alt energy option, then you fire them for not listening to you and get a new investment manager.

    We still have a free market to correct for these people, and they will readily become known. The energy hippies will hire them, and we can avoid them. But again, no one is being compelled by this. Our energy is better spent on protecting 2nd amend rights, and the rights of the unborn. This is an unhelpful distraction that does not matter.

  13. Hey, what has suddenly happened to good ol’ Lucinda, and Bill Yankee, and Whidbey the Cur? I haven’t seen any of them in while! It’s almost as if they all move together, as one person …

  14. Just like the NATO proxy war in Ukraine, Climate Change (weather), is the gift that keeps on giving for the Dems and RINOs in Congress. Seems as if every member of Congress has at least one family member or friend that is partaking of the largesse of the largest money laundering schemes on the planet today! Even our freshman Congresswoman’s husband is in on it.

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