Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill

Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezLobbying world This week: Congress starts summer sprint The Innovation and Competition Act is progressive policy MORE (D-N.J.) on Tuesday reintroduced legislation that would require public companies to disclose the racial, ethnic, gender and veteran composition of their corporate boards and senior management. 

The bill, the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act, aims to address shortcomings in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) diversity disclosure rule.

“For too long corporate America has fallen short in racial, ethnic and gender diversity. Without greater diversity in top corporate positions, the U.S. will fail to compete with other leading economies and stall our nation’s progress towards full inclusivity,” said Menendez, the highest-ranking Latino in Congress.

ADVERTISEMENT

The House passed the legislation in 2019, which was introduced by Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksUS delegation departs Haiti after reports of gunshots at ex-president's funeral Biden announces delegation to attend Haitian president's funeral Critical race theory becomes focus of midterms MORE (D-N.Y.), but it was not taken up in the Senate. It could face an uphill battle with the tight 50-50 partisan divide in the Senate.

The bill would also require the Treasury Department's Director of the Office of Minority and Women Inclusion to publish a report to the SEC every three years, including best practices and compliance. It would establish a Diversity Advisory Group to study the status of corporate diversity and to submit annual reports to Congress. 

Nine Democrats have co-sponsored the bill, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTop Democrat: 'A lot of spin' coming from White House on infrastructure Schumer's moment to transform transit and deepen democracy Democrats ramp up pressure for infrastructure deal amid time crunch MORE (Ohio) and Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenPelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans Warren hits the airwaves for Newsom ahead of recall election Human rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action MORE (Mass.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenSenate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Civil rights activist Gloria Richardson dies Senate Democrats hit speedbumps with big spending plans MORE (Md.), Cory BookerCory BookerHuman rights can't be a sacrificial lamb for climate action Senate Democrats press administration on human rights abuses in Philippines Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer MORE (N.J.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinNearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards Biden signs bill to bolster crime victims fund Stripping opportunity from DC's children MORE (Calif.) and Alex PadillaAlex PadillaBiden to meet with 11 Democratic lawmakers on DACA: report Nearly 140 Democrats urge EPA to 'promptly' allow California to set its own vehicle pollution standards Schumer, Tim Scott lead as Senate fundraising pace heats up MORE (Calif.).

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has also endorsed the bill.

“Diversity has become increasingly important for good corporate governance and the Improving Corporate Governance Through Diversity Act will establish a model to organically boost diversity on boards through disclosure rather than the counterproductive quota-driven strategies that some have attempted,” said Tom Quaadman, executive vice president of the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness.

Other groups — including the National Urban League, Nareit, Financial Services Forum, American Bankers Association, International Council of Shopping Centers, Bank Policy Institute and Real Estate Roundtable — also support the legislation. 

These trade groups endorsed the bill last Congress, and in July sent a letter to then-Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - US gymnast wins all-around gold as Simone Biles cheers from the stands The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators The 17 Republicans who voted to advance the Senate infrastructure bill MORE (R-Idaho) and Brown, arguing that the legislation would organically boost diversity on boards through disclosure.