WASHINGTON — House Republicans failed to override President Joe Biden’s first veto that blocked a GOP-backed bill overturning a Labor Department rule on investing strategies for retirement savings.
It was a longshot from the start. The GOP needed a two-thirds majority to override Biden’s veto – which was unlikely given the Republicans’ narrow, nine-seat majority.
The House voted 219-200 in the override attempt late Thursday afternoon, well short of the two-thirds majority.
Biden issued his first veto Monday after Congress voted to block the environmental, social and governance, or ESG, rule. Republicans dubbed it a “woke policy” that hurt retirees.
Who backs the ESG rule?
The ESG rule, an investing strategy that takes into account businesses’ environmental and social risks as part of a wider financial analysis, had the backing from Republicans in the House and Senate. The Labor Department rule was enacted last year and makes it easier for retirement plans to take into account climate change and other social factors.
Senate Republicans, along with two Democrats, voted on the measure early this month and it passed with a simple majority. Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined with Republicans.
Biden: ‘It’s common sense’
Biden said he would veto the bill before it reached his desk.
“Retirement plan fiduciaries should be able to consider any factor that maximizes financial returns for retirees across the country,” he said before the House voted no the bill. “That is not controversial – that is common sense.”
The president said he signed the veto because the legislation would put at risk retirement savings of individuals in the United States.
“They couldn’t take into consideration investments that would be impacted by climate impacted by overpaying executives,” he said.
Ken Tran, Rebecca Morin and Jessica Guynn contributed to this reporting.