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Manchin opposes ESG, votes away from rejecting Republican wake-up rule on Biden’s investments

Senator Joe Manchin III has escalated his attacks on companies and financial institutions that embrace environmental, social and governance investments, and the ESG movement is also receding on corporate boards.

Democrats in West Virginia, who had been tight-lipped on the hot-button issue, have increasingly focused on investment strategies that make combating climate change a top consideration.

In a recent Washington Times interview, Manchin said his warning that ESG undermines energy security if geopolitical risks are ignored “doesn’t criticize ESG,” or the responsibility to address climate change. But he’s starting to sound like a Republican colleague calling ESG “awakened capitalism.”

“There are universities, colleges, different investment firms, but they only look at ESG, not geopolitical risk. [or] It’s practical,” Manchin said. “Without geopolitical risk, if you want to take one thing off your hat, ask what Europe has been through.”

As The Times first reported, Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined a Republican-led effort to block President Biden’s climate-friendly 401(k) rules. It was a move that threatened to force Mr. Biden to exercise his first veto last month.

Earlier this month, Manchin said, “At a time when our country is already facing economic uncertainty, record inflation, and rising energy costs, the Biden administration has decided to reduce the retirement savings of more than 150 million Americans. It is irresponsible to endanger the country for purely political purposes.” .

His anti-ESG rhetoric comes as diversity, equity and inclusion workers (the building blocks of ESG) are being put on the chopping block with recent layoffs across America’s businesses. According to the workforce analytics firm Revelio Labs, the turnover rate for his DEI workers from December 2021 to December 2022 is 33% compared to his 21% for non-DEI workers. was.

Manchin remains an outlier for Democratic leaders who are overwhelmingly pro-ESG. Meanwhile, Republicans in state capitals and the Capitol are working to counter the mindless takeover of pension funds and corporate culture.

When Congress returns next week from President’s Day recess, Manchin and all 49 Republican senators will pass a new Labor Department rule that would allow financial managers to use ESG to invest their clients’ retirement savings. It will force a vote on resolutions to repeal the Congressional Review Act.

It requires a simple majority to pass, and one more Democrat to pass. The Republican-controlled House has already won votes.

Senate potential defectors like Democrat Jon Tester of Montana, independent Angus King of Maine, and Kirsten Cinema of Arizona are all attending caucuses alongside Democrats. , holding cards near vest. All three of him are seeking re-election next year, and all are important for Senate Democrats to maintain their majority.

“If people want to make their own decisions about how to invest, that is one thing. I don’t think it’s about giving,” King told Bloomberg News.

Biden officials say the criticism from Manchin and Republicans misses the point. That’s because the new 401(k) regulation, which overturns Trump-era restrictions on ESG, doesn’t mandate how you invest.

Assistant Secretary of Labor Lisa Gomez told the American Bar Association recently, “The intent was to set a level playing field and make clear that fiduciaries could consider those factors, but ultimately the risk We cannot sacrifice return or return.” webinar. “This is the basic concept of prudence and loyalty.”

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Congress should reject anti-ESG crusade.

“Far-right lawmakers dare to commit the heinous crime of looking at the big picture, including how investment funds can prevent and present financial risks from climate change and other issues when making investments. New York State Democrat Schumer said: “The far-right climate-change-denying MAGA Republicans are holding these companies out of ideological immunity, They are trying to recruit for their own benefit and the benefit of the country.” Manchin opposes ESG, votes away from rejecting Republican wake-up rule on Biden’s investments

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