U.S. House Divestment Bill Debated at Subcommittee Session

March 16, 2009 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A New York lawmaker asserted at a recent U.S. House subcommittee meeting that a bill allowing state and local governments to sell off Iran-connected pension fund holdings should be part of a comprehensive strategy aimed at getting Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions.

U.S. Representative Gregory Meeks (D-New York) made the comments at a meeting of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade, about H.R. 1327, according to media reports. The bill is sponsored by   U.S. Representative Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts),thechairman of the House Financial Services Committee.

The Frank bill would permit fund managers to consider the policy of the U.S. government as well as the interests of citizens when making divestment decisions for state and local pension funds.

Under the bill, state and local governments could divest from companies, including financial institutions, tankers, and pipelines, engaged in significant business (over $20 million investment) with Iran’s energy sector and identified “using credible information available to the public.”