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Thursday, February 3, 2022

Manchin Gets Thousands From GOP Megadonor After Tanking Build Back Better

“Reaching across the aisle” with cash

JULIA CONLEY for Common Dreams

By Michael deAdder
After he announced in December he would not be supporting President Joe Biden's Build Back Better Act, Sen. Joe Manchin's political action committee received the maximum allowable contribution from billionaire Republican donor Ken Langone.

The Hill reported late Friday that the wealthy investor, who supported former President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign, gave $5,000 to Manchin's Country Roads PAC less than two weeks after the right-wing Democratic senator from West Virginia said he would not join his party in supporting the president's agenda.

Langone's wife also contributed $5,000 to the PAC, while other political donations the megadonor made around the same time went to the Koch family-backed Americans for Prosperity Action and the Senate Leadership Fund, a GOP super PAC.

As Common Dreams reported in November, Langone praised Manchin's "guts and courage" for standing in the way of the Build Back Better Act's passage and promised to hold "one of the biggest fundraisers" he's ever hosted to support the senator.

Manchin in recent months demanded that the Democrats remove the Clean Electricity Performance Program from the Build Back Better Act, dashing plans to put the U.S. "electric sector on a path to zero emissions," as one lawmaker said. 

He also refused to support paid family leave and an extension of the expanded Child Tax Credit, which has helped tens of millions of families afford rising grocery bills, child care, and other essentials, before ultimately stalling negotiations over the package in December.

"We deserve better than career politicians auctioning off the policies that affect our lives to the highest bidder," tweeted New York congressional candidate Melanie D'Arrigo this week after CNBC first reported Langone's donation to Manchin.

In a 2018 book titled I Love Capitalism, Langone wrote about his objection to popular policies pushed by progressive lawmakers including "free college tuition" and "single-payer healthcare."

Donors like Langone, tweeted documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, are "always there to reach across the aisle to make sure to support politicians who take from the poor and give to the rich."