By ZEKE MILLER and SEUNG MIN KIM (Associated Press)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden issued his presidency’s first veto on Monday in an early sign of shifting White House relations with the new Congress since Republicans took control of the House in January — a decision which serves as a prelude to bigger battles with GOP lawmakers over government spending and the country’s debt limit.
Biden sought to kill a Republican-drafted measure that would prohibit the government from considering environmental impacts or potential lawsuits when making investment decisions for people’s retirement plans. In a video released by the White House, Biden said he vetoed the measure because it “jeopardizes the retirement savings of individuals across the country.”
His first veto represents a more divisive approach midway through Biden’s term, as he faces a GOP-controlled House that is eager to undo parts of his political legacy and investigate his administration and his family. To complicate matters for Biden, several Democratic senators are being reelected next year in conservative states, giving them political incentive to put some distance between themselves and the White House.
The measure Biden vetoed would have effectively reinstated a Trump-era ban on federal pension plan managers taking into account factors such as climate change, social impacts or pending lawsuits when they do investment choices.
The veto could also help calm anger among environmentalists who have been upset with the Biden administration for its recent decision to greenlight the Willow Oil Project, a massive and controversial drilling project in Alaska.
“The president vetoed the bill because it jeopardizes the hard-earned savings of cops, firefighters, teachers and other workers,” White House spokeswoman Robyn Patterson said. .
But critics say so-called environmental, social and governance investments allocate money according to political agendas, such as tackling climate change, rather than generating the best returns for savers. Republicans in Congress who pushed for the measure said environmental or social considerations in government investments are just another example of being “woke.”
“In his first veto, Biden just sided with Wall Street for workers,” House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, tweeted Monday. “Tells you exactly where his priorities lie.” He said “it’s clear that Biden wants Wall Street to use your retirement savings to fund his far-left political causes.”
Biden’s veto should prevail. Only three Democrats in Congress — one in the House and two in the Senate — have backed Republicans on the matter, making it unlikely that a two-thirds majority in both chambers could be mustered to overcome Biden’s veto.
Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, was the only Democrat to support the resolution in the House, while Sens. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Joe Manchin, DW.Va., supported her in the Senate. Golden is an ongoing target of Republicans seeking to oust him from his conservative district, while Tester and Manchin are both up for reelection next year.
“This administration continues to prioritize its radical political agenda over our country’s economic, energy and national security needs, and that is absolutely infuriating,” Manchin said in a statement.
Although Biden quickly vetoed the investment resolution, further action coming from Capitol Hill in the weeks and months ahead could be a tougher call for the White House.
The administration initially signaled that Biden would reject a Republican-drafted measure that would reverse a crime measure passed by the District of Columbia council, but the president later said he would sign it and did so on Monday. He also signed a bill ordering the federal government to declassify information related to the origins of COVID-19.
Biden’s immediate predecessor, Donald Trump, vetoed 10 bills during his tenure, while Barack Obama vetoed 12, according to the U.S. Presidency Project from the University of California, Santa. Barbara. Both had one of their vetoes overruled by Congress.
The president with the most vetoes was Franklin Delano Roosevelt – who was elected to four terms before a constitutional amendment limited all presidents to two – with 635 vetoes. Six US presidents have never vetoed any pending legislation.