Republican reintroduces bill to block Thrift Savings Plan from offering ESG funds

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Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, reintroduced a bill to prevent the Thrift Savings Plan, Washington, from allowing investments in funds that consider environmental, social and governance factors when making investment decisions.

“The U.S. government has no business propping up woke scams like ESG,” Mr. Roy said in a news release Tuesday, when he reintroduced the bill. “Congress should eradicate every federal policy and office that promotes it, starting here.”

The bill, named the No ESG at TSP Act, is co-sponsored by 17 House Republicans and was originally introduced in the previous Congress, though it never advanced.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board administers the $766 billion Thrift Savings Plan, which serves as the retirement plan for federal employees and uniformed services members.

Last June, the Thrift Savings Plan opened a mutual fund window, giving plan participants access to more than 5,000 mutual funds, including funds focused on sustainability.

The bill text states that the board “may not offer through the mutual fund window any mutual fund, exchange-traded fund … or other investment vehicle that invests in bonds or equities and that makes investment decisions based on ESG criteria, to the extent that those criteria are unrelated to maximizing monetary returns for investors.”

The board is also restricted from offering a fund or investment vehicle “that is marketed as making investment decisions based on ESG criteria,” the bill states.

Republican officials have made repeated efforts to block the consideration of ESG criteria in investment decisions, both at the state and federal level. On May 10, the Ohio Senate passed a bill that would restrict the state’s retirement systems, state college and university endowments and foundations, and the $20.3 billion Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, Columbus, from making investments for the main purpose of integrating ESG factors.

The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board could not immediately be reached for comment.