Congress to Put ESG Under a Microscope in 2023

Adding to the efforts of a multitude of states across the country, the U.S. House of Representatives will be taking the fight to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) scores. A press release on February 3 from House Financial Services Committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has announced the formation of a Republican Working Group, to be led by Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), that will address the growing threat of ESG.

McHenry stated in the release: “Progressives are trying to do with American businesses what they already did to our public education system—using our institutions to force their far-left ideology on the American people. Their latest tool in these efforts is environmental, social, and governance proposals. This is why I am creating a Republican ESG working group led by Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee Chair Bill Huizenga. This group will develop a comprehensive approach to ESG that protects the financial interests of everyday investors and ensures our capital markets remain the envy of the world. Financial Services Committee Republicans as a whole will continue our work to expand capital formation, hold Biden’s rogue regulators accountable, and support American job creators.”

Huizenga echoed McHenry’s comments, promising to rein in the regulatory state: Last year, the Supreme Court ruled in West Virginia vs EPA that government bureaucracies cannot arbitrarily expand their own regulatory reach. The SEC’s climate disclosure rule is a prime example of this overreach- that would have a wide-ranging impact on hard working Americans across all walks of life. I look forward to leading our committee’s ESG working group, which will focus on promoting strong, vibrant capital markets, while defending the interests of all retail investors.”

Specifically, the working group aims to accomplish three macro-level initiatives. First, it will attempt to rein in the SEC’s regulatory overreach. Second, it will reinforce the financial materiality standard–rather than non-financially material disclosure requirements. Third, it will hold to account any market participants who use proxy voting to impose and coerce political goals, thereby circumventing democratic processes.

Other members of the group include Republican Representatives Ann Wagner (MO), Barry Loudermilk (GA), Bryan Steil (WI), Andrew Garbarino (NY), Byron Donalds (FL), Monica De La Cruz (TX), Erin Houchin (IN), and Andy Ogles (TN).

Let’s hope they can make some progress, and spur greater anti-ESG efforts at the federal level.

Jack McPherrin ([email protected]) is a managing editor of, research editor for The Heartland Institute, and a research fellow for Heartland's Socialism Research Center. He holds an MA in International Affairs from Loyola University-Chicago, and a dual BA in Economics and History from Boston College.