Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and out Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) have continuously obstructed the Democratic agenda since Biden took office – and they may be benefitting financially for it.
The two senators have required President Joe Biden to significantly scale back his domestic policy agenda in order to earn their votes, and in doing so, have gained the financial support of influential Republicans.
According to a report from the New York Times, both senators have received money from conservative donors who have no history of giving to their campaigns.
Billionaire Republican investor Kenneth G. Langone said he donated to Manchin for the first time because he supports “candidates who are willing to stand tall on principle, even when it means defying their own party or the press.”
Stanley S. Hubbard, another billionaire Republican, started donating to Sinema in September, citing her and Manchin’s work on stifling the Democratic agenda.
“Those are two good people – Manchin and Sinema – and I think we need more of those in the Democratic Party,” he said.
Many other conservative donors have given to the senators, including those from the finance, oil and gas, and pharmaceutical industries.
Manchin has received checks from Donald Trump supporters like banker Andrew Beal and lobbyist and investor Roy W. Bailey.
Sinema has raked in donations from Goldman Sachs President John Waldron, as well as other investors from Goldman Sachs and elsewhere.
What is jarring about these donations is not the fact that they are coming in across party lines. It’s not uncommon for campaign contributors to diversify their donations across party lines.
These donations are unique because they are mostly coming from people who have never before donated to Manchin or Sinema and are based on their efforts to obstruct specific legislation, namely the Build Back Better Act, which recently passed the House after significant changes fueled by Manchin and Sinema.
Sinema has opposed raising personal and corporate income taxes and Manchin has opposed the bill, claiming that its high price tag would lead to inflation and raise the national debt.
Their efforts have led the Build Back Better Act to be reduced from a $3.5 trillion bill that would increase social benefits and implement stronger efforts against climate change to one that will devote $2 trillion to these efforts.
Now that it has passed the House and its fate is up to the Senate, there is also the possibility more could change.
Sinema spokesperson John LaBombard claimed money has had no bearing on Sinema’s legislative decisions.
“Senator Sinema makes decision based on one consideration: what’s best for Arizona,” he said.
Nevertheless, it appears both senators have continued to schmooze with Republican donors in what the Times called “a striking display of how party affiliation can prove secondary to special interests and ideological motivations when the stakes are high enough.”