Biden issues first-ever veto to protect socially conscious investment

WASHINGTON — President Biden issued the first veto of his presidency on Monday, rolling back a Republican effort to block investment managers from incorporating climate and social considerations into their decisions.

The rule the president has pledged to protect is a vague investment policy known as ESG — an acronym for Prioritizing Environmental, Social and Governance Factors. It was the widely accepted norm in financial circles for nearly 20 years until Republicans recently began attacking it as “risen capitalism,” which instilled democratic and liberal values ​​into financial decisions. There are more than $18 trillion in investment funds that follow ESG principles.

The veto came amid a flurry of other presidential signatures — including one that put Biden at odds with his party’s left wing — that illustrates how the president is positioning himself as a centrist in an era of divided government approaching an election year. .

On Monday afternoon, Mr. Biden signed a resolution repealing a new crime law in the District of Columbia that reduces penalties for crimes, including car thefts, that have increased in the capital in recent years. Mr. Biden, under political pressure to counter Republican attacks that he is soft on crime, has drawn sharp criticism from Democrats for supporting congressional efforts to change the law.

The District of Columbia was granted home rule in 1973, but Congress retained the power to revise its laws. Both houses of Congress passed a Republican-led effort to block the crime bill, which drew objections from local police unions and Mayor Muriel E. Vetoed by Bowser, he was overruled by the DC Council.

Mr. Biden signed. Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, and Chinese officials sponsored the legislation. He strongly opposed it.

Mr. Trump has been urged by Republicans to take a tougher stance against Beijing. Biden has been under pressure, especially in the weeks since a Chinese spy balloon drifted across the continent, and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia’s President Vladimir V. Met Putin in Moscow.

“We need to get to the bottom of the origins of Covid-19 to help ensure we can better prevent future epidemics,” said Mr. Biden said in a statement. “My administration will continue to review all classified information related to the origin of Covid-19, including possible links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” a reference to the Chinese lab that worked on the coronavirus in the city where the first cases were reported.

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But the order signed on Monday pitted Mr.

The president defended his decision to veto an effort to overturn the ESG rule, accusing far-right Republicans of doing what they accuse Democrats of doing: imposing their views on the rest of the country.


How Times reporters see politics We trust our journalists to be independent observers. So when Times employees vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money or raising money for any political candidate or election cause.

“This bill would put your retirement savings at risk by making it illegal to consider risk factors that MAGA House Republicans don’t want,” said Mr. Biden He wrote on Twitter, former President Donald J. Refers to the faction of the party that supports Trump. “Your program manager can protect your hard-earned savings — whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green likes it or not.”

The Senate passed the ESG resolution this month by a vote of 50 to 46, after two Democrats, Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, joined each Republican. The vote, which came a day after the House approved the measure in a largely partisan vote, allowed the measure to be sent to the White House, where Mr. Biden’s advisers expected him to veto it.

Officials in Republican-led states have argued that the rule would lead to disinvestment in fossil fuel companies that provide tax revenue and jobs in their states. On Monday, Mr. Manchin criticized the president’s decision to veto the measure.

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“This administration continues to prioritize their radical policy agenda over our nation’s economic, energy and national security needs, and that is absolutely galling,” warned Mr. poses a threat to energy securitysaid in a statement.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who held a signing ceremony to repeal the ESG rule last week, said Mr. “Now — despite bipartisan votes to block his ESG agenda — it’s clear that Biden wants Wall Street to use your retirement savings for his far-left political causes,” Mr. McCarthy He wrote on Twitter.

Democrats have accused Republicans and others who supported the overthrow of the regime of misunderstanding its purpose.

“So, for example, a hypothetical is that if you’re against investing in so-called ‘woke causes,’ you’re actually setting your own ESG benchmarks,” Senator Patty Murray of Washington said this month. “Here’s the thing: The Biden administration rule would allow that.”

David Kelless And Stephanie Loy Contributed report.

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