FIRST ON FOX: A senior GOP lawmaker introduced legislation on Friday to block the White House from forcing financial institutions to consider “woke” issues, like climate change, when deciding how to invest the retirement savings of American workers.
Sen. Steve Daines, a Montana Republican, told Fox News Digital the legislation was aimed at preventing President Biden from pressuring the nation’s banks to bow to “woke” ideology.
“Montanans should not have to pay the price for the whims of wokeness with their hard-earned life savings,” he said.
Last year, Biden issued an executive order directing the Secretary of Labor to identify actions that could be taken to protect the pension plans from “climate-related financial risks.”
At the time, the White House said the move was needed to ensure transparency in how financial giants were choosing to invest the hard-earned money of America’s retirees.
“We know that the climate crisis, whether through rising seas or extreme weather, already presents increasing risks to infrastructure, investments, and businesses,” the administration said in a statement. “Yet, these risks are often hidden.”
The directive gutted regulations put in place by former President Donald Trump that required banks to only consider profitability when choosing to invest, rather than issues like race or climate change.
Daines, who serves on the Senate Finance Committee, said Biden’s executive orderopened the door for Wall Street to embrace radical ideologies like environmental social governance — which says companies should prioritize social goals rather than profits.
His bill seeks to prevent the proliferation of such tactics by codifying into law the Trump-era regulations.
“Corporate America must remember their responsibility is to their shareholders, not the woke mob – these are financial institutions, not pop-up shops for the radical left,” he said.
In recent years, Wall Street banks have maneuvered to expand investment in areas like green energy, which, although less profitable, are popular among Democrats. At the same time, the country’s leading banks have been accused of discriminating against fossil fuel companies by maneuvering to cut off investment.
The push away from fossil fuels has been helped by the White House and its widespread regulatory power. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, for instance, has created a special “climate hub” within her department to hasten the nation’s economy away from fossil fuels.
“The real objective here is to punish politically disfavored industries,” said Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, the top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee. “By straying beyond their mandates into the climate arena, financial regulators will pressure banks not to serve politically disfavored industries such as fossil fuel companies.”