The League of Conservation Voters led 15 environmental organizations in sending the below letter to the House of Representatives urging Members to oppose H.R. 4664, the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2024, and the below anti-environmental amendments, when they come up for votes. The League of Conservation Voters will strongly consider including votes related to these amendments in our 2023 National Environmental Scorecard.
November 7, 2023
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Vote No On H.R. 4664, the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2024 and Harmful Amendments
Dear Member of Congress,
On behalf of our many members and supporters, the 15 undersigned groups urge you to oppose H.R. 4664, the House Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, 2024. We also urge you to oppose the following amendments that would damage the environment, harm investors, and put taxpayer dollars at risk. While not all undersigned organizations work directly on each of these issues, we appreciate your consideration of these pro-environmental positions.
Thank you for your consideration,
League of Conservation Voters
Americans for Financial Reform
Center for Biological Diversity
Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Working Group
Interfaith Power & Light
Natural Resources Defense Council
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Union of Concerned Scientists
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
Western Watersheds Project
- Barr (KY) and 94. Roy (TX) These amendments would prohibit funds from being used to implement any of President Biden’s executive orders on climate change. This could halt funding to efforts established by executive orders that prioritize public health and environmental justice, climate-related financial risk, bolstering of supply chains and domestic manufacturing capacity, science and technology advising, and more.
- Burchett (TN) and 69. McClain (MI) Any amendments to arbitrarily and punitively cut salaries for federal government officials to $1 are personal attacks on individuals whose job it is to carry out the President’s policies or the mandate of their independent agency and are wholly inappropriate and unwarranted. Top officials directing important federal government business should be fairly paid for their work, and any attacks on government officials’ pay should be rejected.
- Cammack (FL) and 57. Graves (LA) These amendments would prevent any major rules from being promulgated, regardless of their benefits or whether they are required by existing law. Blanket policies like this hamstring agencies empowered to protect investors.
- Fischbach (MN) This amendment would prohibit funds from being used to regulate or require farmers disclose scope 3 emissions. The SEC cannot, and its climate disclosure rule does not, regulate or require farmers to disclose Scope 3 emissions. Publicly traded companies are the only entities required to report GHG emissions, they cannot require farmers to report any emissions to them, and they are expected to use estimates to determine emissions from their supply chain.
- Fitzgerald (WI) This amendment would block the Federal Insurance Office’s ability to gather underwriting data, not just climate-related data, from insurers. These data are critical to understanding how climate-related financial risks impact individuals and families across state markets and the United States, particularly given recent insurer pullbacks and significant premium increases in several states. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, also recognizes the risk and is working with FIO to help collect data from insurers to ensure the availability and affordability of insurance for impacted consumers.
- Fry (SC) This amendment would prohibit funding for the Treasury Department’s Climate Data Hub, which was developed as a source of data on climate-related financial risk for financial regulators to access. Financial regulators are seeking out more data to assess any and all risks to their regulated entities and the stability of the financial system. This Data Hub is one centralized source for this information.
- Greene (GA) This amendment would block funding to the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy which has many roles including the coordination of the all-of-government approach to tackle the climate crisis, create good-paying, union jobs, and advance environmental justice. The Office is responsible for convening a wide array of inter-agency working groups on climate and helps support implementation of many of the Biden Administration’s critical and popular laws such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act.
- Moore (UT) The intended effect of this amendment is to allow non- “critical minerals” like potash, uranium, gold and silver access to a permitting process with less community input. USGS and DOE determined these minerals are not critical and Congress should appropriately defer to their scientific methodology for criticality. Mining of any minerals is not appropriate in any way for the FAST-41 scheme, and there are good reasons Congress chose not to originally include mining in FAST-41. Mining has more harmful impacts than any of the other “covered sectors”, which means that we need more rigorous permitting for the mining sector in order to reduce the damage and public costs imposed by mining, not a law like FAST-41 that is designed to reduce environmental review and public input.
- Norman (SC) This amendment would prohibit federal agencies’ consideration of the social cost of carbon, an important tool for evaluating the health, environmental and economic impacts of climate change.
- Norman (SC) This amendment would prevent the SEC from requiring registered investment advisers and investment companies to provide further information about their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. A broad range of market participants strongly support this rule as necessary to provide market transparency and address greenwashing. Even asset managers advocating for changes to the proposal are in broad agreement that the rule is necessary in some form.
- Rosendale (MT) and 101. Tenney (NY) These amendments would prevent the GSA and other agencies from finalizing a rule so that “major” Federal contractors receiving more than $50 million in annual contracts, who make up 1.3% of all contractors and over 85% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the federal supply chain, would be required to publicly disclose Scope 1, Scope 2, and relevant categories of Scope 3 emissions, disclose climate-related financial risks, and set science-based emissions reduction targets. Without these disclosures, the US cannot substantiate or track progress against its own commitment to the Paris Agreement, nor protect the federal government from transition risks.
- Steil (WI) This amendment would block enforcement of the SEC Staff Legal Bulletin (SLB) 14L. Under this bulletin, SEC staff now require shareholder proposals on significant social policy issues to come up for a shareholder vote even if they have no nexus to a public company’s business. SLB 14L has been associated with an increase in ESG-related shareholder proposals.
The following amendments go against our organizations’ commitment to racial justice and equity and we oppose them – we urge opposition on any en bloc that includes these or similar amendments: 61. Hageman (WY), 63. Harshbarger (TN), 88. Pfluger (TX), 99. Steube (FL)