Joe Biden's first veto of his presidency confirms that the Biden Administration's priority is to promote woke policies. President Biden on Monday vetoed a bill, passed with the support of Democratic lawmakers in the Senate last week, that prevented pension plans from making investments following ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) criteria. The move, which the president justifies as a way "to protect savings," has drawn sharp criticism from members of both parties, who accuse the Administration of prioritizing "their radical political agenda over the economic, energy and national security needs."
I just vetoed my first bill.
This bill would risk your retirement savings by making it illegal to consider risk factors MAGA House Republicans don't like.
Your plan manager should be able to protect your hard-earned savings — whether Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene likes it or not. pic.twitter.com/PxuoJBdEee
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 20, 2023
Guaranteed "life savings"
In a statement, the president stressed the impact that ESG factors have on markets, industries and companies and their importance in securing "life savings." According to Biden, ignoring "the physical risks of climate change and poor corporate governance" could "affect investment returns."
There is extensive evidence showing that environmental, social, and governance factors can have a material impact on markets, industries, and businesses. But the Republican-led resolution would force retirement managers to ignore these relevant risk factors, disregarding the principles of free markets and jeopardizing the life savings of working families and retirees. In fact, this resolution would prevent retirement plan fiduciaries from taking into account factors, such as the physical risks of climate change and poor corporate governance, that could affect investment returns.
The president said that "Retirement plan fiduciaries should be able to consider any factor that maximizes financial returns for retirees across the country. That is not controversial — that is common sense. Therefore, I am vetoing this resolution."
Biden prioritizes the woke agenda over the economy
These statements did not convince his critics. West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, whose vote was key for the vetoed bill's passage, issued a statement criticizing the president's action. According to Manchin, the veto will "jeopardize the hard-earned retirement savings" precisely the reason given by Biden for exercising his presidential power. The veteran senator lamented that the Biden Administration "continues to prioritize" the woke agenda over reality.
This Administration continues to prioritize their radical policy agenda over the economic, energy and national security needs of our country, and it is absolutely infuriating. West Virginians are under increasing stress as we continue to recover from a once-in-a-generation pandemic, pay the bills amid record inflation, and face the largest land war in Europe since World War II. The Administration’s unrelenting campaign to advance a radical social and environmental agenda is only exacerbating these challenges. This ESG rule will weaken our energy, national and economic security while jeopardizing the hard-earned retirement savings of 150 million West Virginians and Americans. Despite a clear and bipartisan rejection of the rule from Congress, President Biden is choosing to put his Administration’s progressive agenda above the well-being of the American people.
My statement on @POTUS's veto of the bipartisan Congressional resolution to nullify the Administration’s environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) rule which prioritizes politics over getting the best financial returns for millions of Americans’ retirement investments pic.twitter.com/wLhjKo19J4
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) March 20, 2023
Taylor Greene brings up China's payments to the Biden family
Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke out along the same lines, although, in her case, with an even more combative tone and directly accusing Biden of endangering pensions. In addition, the conservative representative brought up the investigation her party is leading in the House of Representatives into the president's family's business dealings with China. "American families can't count on checks from China to pay their rent and groceries like your family does," she posted on Twitter.
No one has put our retirement at risk more than you, Joe.
American families can’t count on checks from China to pay their rent and groceries like your family does. https://t.co/rE9I4NSm18
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) March 20, 2023
Biden picks "Woke Wall Street over workers"
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was also troubled by the veto. McCarthy expressed his concern about Biden siding with Wall Street's woke positions rather than the interests of working people. McCarthy also criticized the president for shooting down a bipartisan vote because he "wants Wall Street to use your retirement savings to fund his far-left political causes."
In his first veto, Biden just sided with woke Wall Street over workers. Tells you exactly where his priorities lie.
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.
— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) March 20, 2023
Biden approves of declassifying information on the origin of Covid-19
The White House reported that Joe Biden also signed legislation to declassify information related to the origins of Covid-19. "We need to get to the bottom of Covid-19’s origins to help ensure we can better prevent future pandemics. My Administration will continue to review all classified information relating to Covid–19’s origins, including potential links to the Wuhan Institute of Virology," the president said in a statement.
In the statement, Biden warned that there will be limits, in the interest of "National Security" on what documents will be declassified.
My Administration will declassify and share as much of that information as possible, consistent with my constitutional authority to protect against the disclosure of information that would harm national security.