This week, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, gave the following statement on the House floor urging the passage of H.R. 1187 the Corporate Governance Improvement and Investor Protection Act. This bill provides key protections to investors by requiring that companies provide environmental, social, and governance information that can assist investors in determining any risks and hold companies accountable. The bill passed the House by a vote of 215-214.
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 1187 the Corporate Governance Improvement and Investor Protection Act. H.R. 1187 is a package of bills designed to strengthen investor protections and require companies to provide environmental, social, and governance disclosures – known as E-S-G - and I thank my colleague, Representative Juan Vargas, for his leadership on this package. This bill provides investors with critical information on ESG matters by requiring public companies to disclose key information to shareholders regarding corporate political spending, worker pay, CEO compensation, climate risk, and country-by-country tax reporting, and provides issuers with clear, consistent standards to disclose this information. This is key information that investors have been demanding in order to make the best decisions on the short- and long-term viability of the companies they are investing in. It is surprising that to this day, there are no explicit ESG requirements, and investors are left to piece together the story of a company’s material risks with insufficient information. This is unacceptable.
So, I am pleased that this package of bills will improve our investor protections by holding public companies accountable and providing greater transparency. This package includes a number of bills authored by several hardworking Members of the Financial Services Committee, specifically Representative Juan Vargas, Representative Bill Foster, Representative Nydia Velazquez, Representative Sean Casten, and Representative Cindy Axne. These bills are:
Specifically, Mr. Vargas’ bill, “The ESG Disclosure Simplification Act,” which requires public companies to disclose certain ESG information to shareholders as well as the impact of the ESG policies on their strategies;
Mr. Foster’s bill, “The Shareholder Political Transparency Act,” which requires public companies to submit quarterly reports to the SEC on any and all political expenditures, including dark money;
Ms. Velazquez’s bill, “The Greater Accountability in Pay Act,” which sheds light on pay disparities, helping to close the gender and racial pay gap.
Ms. Axne’s bill, “The Disclosure of Tax Heavens and Offshoring Act,” requires disclosures that discourages companies’ use of tax havens and encourages repatriation of taxes to the United States; and
Mr. Casten’s bill, “The Climate Risk Disclosure Act,” requires disclosures that encourages companies to plan for the impact of climate change on their company.
Each of these bills passed the Financial Services Committee with unanimous Democratic support. I would like to thank all of these Members for their work on those bills, their contributions to this legislative package and their leadership on these important reforms to protect investors and hold corporations accountable.
This package is the right thing to do for investors and our markets, and it’s past time that Congress make ESG requirements explicit. For these reasons, I urge my colleagues to support the bill and I reserve the balance of my time.