"However, it is not clear that the law provides such authority and we must determine whether legislation is necessary to ensure our government works for the American taxpayer and not on behalf of foreign interests. Despite our patience, we have not received the information requested for almost four months, as the SEC has continuously delayed and misdirected."
Comer and Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., ranking member on the Senate Banking Committee and presidential candidate, in June sent a letter to Gensler seeking information on the SEC's activities taken in coordination with the EU on its new ESG and climate-related policies, including European Union climate-related disclosure mandates.
The Republicans say the EU measures will hurt American companies and also align with the SEC's proposed public company climate disclosure rule.
Unveiled in March 2022, the SEC proposal, which has broad backing from institutional investors and asset managers, would require public companies to disclose a host of climate-related information in their registration statements and periodic reports, including the oversight and governance of climate-related risks by the company's board and management, and how any identified climate-related risks have affected or are likely to affect the company's strategy, business model and outlook, among other requirements.
The part of the SEC proposal that has garnered the most pushback centers on greenhouse gas emission disclosures. Under the proposal, public companies would be required to disclose the greenhouse gas emissions they generate or purchase, and the indirect emissions generated from a company's supply chain, if material, though smaller companies would be exempt from the latter requirement, referred to as Scope 3.
"As U.S. policymakers, we are concerned that, under the Biden administration, the SEC and other federal agencies have been coordinating with, or ceding regulatory responsibility to, foreign regulators on these and other climate measures that will force burdensome and non-material reporting obligations on American companies," Comer and Scott said in their letter.
The two lawmakers sent Gensler a series of questions in June, but Comer said in his Oct. 12 letter the SEC has not "produced documents that are substantively responsive."
If the SEC continues "to fail to produce the requested documents" by Oct. 19, Comer said he will consider other measures, including issuing a subpoena, to gain compliance.
An SEC spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
In public remarks, Gensler has said the SEC is merit neutral and the proposal is aimed at bringing consistency and comparability to the market since a majority of the top public companies already disclose at least some climate-related information voluntarily.