WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden on Monday issued the first veto of his presidency as he sought to block Republican-led efforts in Congress to overturn a Labor Department rule allowing retirement plans to consider environmental, social and governance factors when making investment decisions.
The Labor Department rule ended a Trump-era ban on managers of retirement plans considering factors such as climate change or pending lawsuits when making investment choices. Because suits and climate change have financial repercussions, administration officials argue that their predecessors were courting possible disaster.
Critics say ESG investments allocate money based on political agendas, such as a drive against climate change, rather than on earning the best returns for savers. Republicans in Congress who pushed the measure to overturn the Labor Department’s action argue ESG is just the latest example of the world trying to get “woke.”
Only two Democrats in the Senate voted for the measure, making it unlikely that backers of the effort in Congress could reach the two-thirds majority required in each chamber to override the veto.