House Financial Services Republicans Deny ‘Woke’ Agenda After Backlash for ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ Message

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The Republican-controlled House Financial Services Committee is taking heat for listing “diversity and inclusion” in the finance and housing industries as part of its agenda, but Republicans on the committee are standing by the agenda and rejecting any notion of it being “woke.”

Committee chairman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) said in a statement provided to Breitbart News when asked about the diversity language that the committee plans to prioritize “kitchen table issues.”

McHenry indicated that would be a contrast to the focus of Democrats, who he said had spent the last two Congresses pressuring companies until they “parroted their woke social agenda.”

“For four years, Democrats wasted the valuable and limited time and resources of our committee to push burdensome mandates on American job creators. Democrats’ goal was to name and shame companies until they parroted their woke social agenda,” McHenry said.  “Under my leadership, Republicans will refocus the Committee on the kitchen table issues that matter most to American families, from charting a path out of the dismal Biden economy to expanding opportunities for all Americans.”

“Diversity and inclusion” are nevertheless listed as priorities under all six of the committee’s subcommittees, a discovery first reported Friday by the right-leaning Washington Free Beacon in a story titled “Woke Agenda Survives: These House Republicans Are Sticking With ‘Diversity and Inclusion.’”

The conservative group FreedomWorks also raised the alarm on the Democrat buzzwords, noting they are a “pillar” of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing, a trend among powerful left-aligned Wall Street investors to push climate and diversity initiatives.

New to the committee is Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL), one of five black Republican members of Congress, a member of the Freedom Caucus, and a candidate for House speaker during the contentious speaker race at the start of the year.

Donalds, who previously had a longtime career in finance and banking, told Breitbart News in a statement the committee’s plan was “far from the road of woke policies like ESG investing” but stood by the focus on “diversity and inclusion,” noting they were a means to “truly mobilize and amplify people rather than practice placation.”

Read Donalds’ full statement below:

As a new member of the House Financial Services Committee, one of my many goals is to expand access to capital, break down barriers that prevent underrepresented communities from participating in our markets, and create pathways for economic prosperity for traditionally unbanked and underbanked members of our society as well as the entire middle and working class. Chairman McHenry shares this goal, and I have complete confidence in his agenda for the committee. The diversity and inclusion we plan on addressing are far from the road of woke policies like ESG investing or virtual signaling on Wall Street, and any suggestion otherwise is misleading. It is beyond time for our country to look at diversity and inclusion as a way to truly mobilize and amplify people rather than practice placation.

Upon taking control of the committee, McHenry had appeared to move away from Democrats’ race-focused social causes by eliminating the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, which had been established by former chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) in 2019.

Waters said she was “deeply disappointed” by the move and that McHenry’s decision to instead include diversity under the jurisdiction of every subcommittee was “simply insufficient.”

Breitbart News reached out to other Republican committee members, including Housing and Insurance Subcommittee chair Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) and Capital Markets Subcommittee chair Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), but did not receive a response.

Sean Moran contributed to this report.

Write to Ashley Oliver at Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.


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