Democratic Connecticut Rep. Jim Himes compared Republican support for a bill limiting environmental, social and governance investment to the Taliban.
Corporations such as Blackrock and Anheuser-Busch InBev have quietly removed references to their green energy commitments from their websites as Republicans target environmental, social and governance (ESG) investments. ESG is an investment method by which firms can take into account the supposed environmental or social toll a particular business will take. The method encourages companies to adopt policies more friendly to Democrats’ goals on climate and social issues.
“The party formerly of free markets has decided that they will use the power of government to pound on Disney, to pound on banks that … won’t invest in the carbon industry,” Himes said. “We’re standing up for free markets against a Taliban-like attack on the private sector.”
Wall Street foes turn free-market heroes amid GOP attacks https://t.co/zvfwlobJRW
— POLITICO (@politico) July 25, 2023
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison also accused Republicans of trying to “dictate” the private sector.
“It is a change of events. It is strange,” Ellison, former co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said. “It feels like people on the conservative end are arguing to try to dictate to private sector, profit-seeking firms what they can and can’t do.”
House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan led House Republicans in launching an investigation into companies like Blackrock and Vanguard for their corporate ESG efforts, saying they could violate federal antitrust laws.
Republican Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and Republican Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr introduced legislation in December 2022 that challenged the Department of Labor’s decision to allow ESG factors as an investment consideration. Barr argued investment firm’s decisions to penalize energy sectors deemed harmful to the environment amounts to discrimination against oil and gas producers.
“This bill would risk your retirement savings by making it illegal to consider risk factors MAGA House Republicans don’t like,” Biden said on Twitter after vetoing the measure. “Your plan manager should be able to protect your hard-earned savings — whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene likes it or not.”