Biden Veto Survives House Vote

Outcome preserves rule letting retirement funds consider social and climate factors when investing
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2023 5:06 PM CDT
Updated Mar 23, 2023 6:10 PM CDT
In First Veto, Biden Blocks Tossing Rule on Investments
President Biden speaks Monday in the East Room of the White House.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
UPDATE Mar 23, 2023 6:10 PM CDT

A House vote on whether to override President Biden's first veto fell short of the two-thirds majority needed on Thursday, keeping a Labor Department rule on investments by retirement funds intact. The 219-200 vote means the Senate will not take the veto up, NBC News reports. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer had issued a statement Monday calling the president's veto "totally appropriate" and criticizing congressional Republicans for trying to throw out the investment policy.

Mar 20, 2023 5:06 PM CDT

President Biden used the first veto of his presidency to block legislation that would keep retirement plans from considering social and environmental factors when making investments, as they can now. The Republican-backed measure would risk workers' savings in retirement funds, Biden said in a video posted on Twitter, the Guardian reports. "They couldn't take into consideration investments that would be impacted by climate, impacted by overpaying executives," he said. "And that's why I decided to veto it." The Labor Department rule was enacted to overturn Trump-era policies discouraging fund managers from including such factors in their decision-making.

As it is, funds can use an environmental, social, and governance strategy, as it's called, per USA Today, but don't have to. Republicans nevertheless have objected to the rule. "This is trying to parallel financial return with an ideological push," Sen. Mike Braun said last month. "I don't like that." And they objected to the veto Monday. "Now—despite a bipartisan vote to block his ESG agenda—it's clear Biden wants Wall Street to use your retirement savings to fund his far-left political causes," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy tweeted. The House has a vote on overturning Biden's veto scheduled for Thursday, though nearly all Democrats support keeping the rule. (Read more President Biden stories.)

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