The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to block the Biden administration’s planned ESG investment rule, which would have allowed retirement plans to make ESG considerations in their investment decisions, according to media reports.
The Republican-controlled U.S. House voted 216 to 204 in favor of adopting a joint resolution that would prevent the Department of Labor (DoL) from enforcing the rule. The measure will now move onto the Senate, where Republicans hope to garner enough support to pass it as early as March 1, according to a Reuters report.
If the resolution to block the rule is approved by both chambers, the resolution will be moved onto President Biden, who is likely to veto it, according to the White House.
Andy Barr, who introduced the measure to the U.S. House, warned that the rule would burden people with higher fees for less-diversified investments in lower-performing portfolios, claiming that “21 percent of investors don’t even know what ESG stands for.”
The White House disputed this in a statement, saying, “The rule reflects what successful marketplace investors already know – there is an extensive body of evidence that environmental, social, and governance factors can have material impacts on certain markets, industries and companies.”
The proposed investment rule has divided U.S. states. Earlier this month a group of 25 republican state attorneys general filed a lawsuit in Texas to block the rule, while just two days ago the Wyoming House of Representatives Appropriation Committee vetoed legislation that was trying to block the DoL rule.