I have long fought efforts to politicize financial decisions. Sadly, this is something we continue to see at the federal level. For example, look at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC’s primary focus should be shoring up the strength and stability of the U.S. capital markets. Instead, under the direction of Chairman Gary Gensler, the agency has proposed regulations that would require all publicly-traded companies to disclose climate change related information.
There are a number of problems with this proposal. The SEC already requires these companies to disclose material information and various companies disclose climate-related information because it is material to their business. Telling companies this information is material, regardless of whether such a determination has been made, weakens the current disclosure system. Further, this reporting burden would be imposed on stakeholders nationwide, including agricultural producers, at a time when they already face considerable compliance, fuel, labor and other high input costs.
Even more concerning, the SEC is sidestepping Congress and undermining our constitutional system of checks and balances. Because Democrats in Congress have been unable to enact radical climate policy through legislation, unelected bureaucrats in the Biden administration are now implementing their preferred agenda through regulation, with little regard for American businesses. Congress did not give the SEC authority to do this, and I am fighting this heavy-handed federal overreach.
• In April, I joined my Republican colleagues on both the Senate Banking and Senate Environment and Public Works Committees in opposing the proposal and calling for its withdrawal.
• On June 10, 2022, along with fellow U.S. Senator for Idaho, Jim Risch, and 30 of our Senate colleagues, we called on the SEC to rescind this overreaching proposal that would place unworkable climate disclosure regulations on farmers, ranchers and agriculture producers.
• Also in June, I joined fellow Banking Committee Republicans in asking the SEC to provide more information related to its 500-page proposed climate disclosure rule. We stressed the rule will impose enormous costs on the entire U.S. economy if it takes effect.
• After the SEC provided an inadequate response to our concerns, we called on the SEC to provide prompt answers to the concerns while expressing concerns with the SEC’s lack of transparency, especially with such a sweeping new regulation that will harm consumers, workers and the entire U.S. economy.
• To further reinforce this effort, in July, Senator Risch and I cosponsored S. 4610, the Food and Energy Security Act, which would require the federal financial and securities regulators to provide an analysis of the real-world impacts that their ESG climate rules would have on American energy and agriculture producers and consumers’ food, electricity, and gas prices.
The Biden administration should not circumvent our system of government and implement its own agenda beyond the scope of federal law. As we pointed out in the recent letter to SEC Chairman Gensler, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a major decision that reinforces the importance of congressional oversight of the SEC’s climate disclosure rule. We wrote, “In West Virginia v. EPA, the Supreme Court ruled that the executive branch and its agencies, including financial regulators, cannot use creative, new interpretations of existing law to pretend they have legal authority to support sweeping policy changes that Congress never intended. Unfortunately, the SEC appears to be trying to act in precisely this way with its climate disclosure rule.”
Imposing repressive regulation and subjective standards onto industries the Biden administration views as disfavored is a disservice to Idaho businesses, employees and investors, and is beyond the scope of the Administration’s authority. I will continue to fight this overreach.