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Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill

Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden holds off punishing Saudi crown prince, despite US intel Senate confirms Thomas-Greenfield as UN ambassador The Memo: Biden bets big on immigration 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.

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The House passed the legislation in 2019, which was introduced by Rep. Gregory MeeksGregory Weldon MeeksMenendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill Lawmakers to roll out legislation reorganizing State cyber office Hillicon Valley: Robinhood raises .4 billion over weekend after GameStop fury | New State Dept. cyber bureau stirs concern | Intel agency warns of threats from China collecting sensitive US health data 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 BrownSchumer insists Democrats unified after chaotic coronavirus debate Mandel gets Club for Growth nod in Ohio Senate primary Bipartisan bill would ban lawmakers from buying, selling stocks MORE (Ohio) and Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate rejects Sanders minimum wage hike Philly city council calls on Biden to 'cancel all student loan debt' in first 100 days Hillicon Valley: High alert as new QAnon date approaches Thursday | Biden signals another reversal from Trump with national security guidance | Parler files a new case MORE (Mass.), Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenBiden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Lobbying world Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill MORE (Md.), Cory BookerCory Booker'Bloody Sunday' to be commemorated for first time without John Lewis It's in America's best interest to lead global COVID-19 vaccine distribution ABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent MORE (N.J.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDemocrats worry Senate will be graveyard for Biden agenda Pro-Choice Caucus asks Biden to remove abortion fund restrictions from 2022 budget China has already infiltrated America's institutions MORE (Calif.) and Alex PadillaAlex PadillaThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate Dems face unity test; Tanden nomination falls FBI director faces lawmaker frustration over Capitol breach Democrats push Biden to include recurring payments in recovery package 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 CrapoTrump announces new tranche of endorsements Biden convenes bipartisan meeting on cancer research Senate panel unanimously advances top Biden economic nominees MORE (R-Idaho) and Brown, arguing that the legislation would organically boost diversity on boards through disclosure.