House Strengthens Corporate Disclosure — Over Conservatives of Both Parties

Last Wednesday, the House of Representatives passed the ESG Disclosure Simplification Act of 2021, which would require the SEC to adopt clear, consistent standards for companies to disclose to investors information related to climate change risks, corporate political spending, and worker pay, as well as requiring public companies to disclose profits and foreign taxes paid by their subsidiaries.

The bill passed 215 to 214, with 4 Democrats voting against it. Those 4 were Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07), Susie Lee (NV-03), and Kurt Schrader (OR-05).

The House voted down two Republican amendments before doing so.

One was an amendment from Michael Burgess (TX-26) to require publicly traded companies to disclose the negative impacts of federal corporate tax increases.

It failed to pass, with a vote of 209 to 218. 14 Democrats voted for it, and 13 Republicans voted against it.

The 14 Democrats voted for it: Carolyn Bourdeaux (GA-07), Angie Craig (MN-02), Sharice Davids (KS-03), Antonio Delgado (TX-19), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Kim Schrier (WA-08), Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Haley Stevens (MI-11), and Susan Wild (PA-07).

The second was one from French Hill (AR-02) to strike the underlying legislation with a study that must be conducted by the SEC to summarize and describe any inconsistencies by the different ESG and climate disclosure frameworks before requiring any type of disclosure from public companies.

It failed 204 to 225.

One Democrat — Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) — voted for it, and 8 Republicans voted against it.

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