Billionaire GOP mega-donor Ken Langone said Wednesday he will soon host a fundraiser for Sen. Joe Manchin after the moderate Democrat held up several elements of President Biden’s legislative agenda.
Langone, a prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump, lauded the West Virginia Democrat’s “guts and courage.”
“I don’t see leadership anyplace in this country. Thank God for Joe Manchin,” Langone said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday.
“I’m going to have one of the biggest fundraisers I’ve ever had for him. He’s special. He’s precious. He’s a great American,” he added.
According to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, Langone has never contributed to Manchin, who is next up for re-election in 2024.
Manchin, who voted to approve the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan in August, has voiced concerns about the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better social spending package that the House could vote on as soon as next week.
The House approved the bipartisan infrastructure deal last Friday, sending the bill to Biden’s desk.
In an interview last week on CNN, Manchin warned Democrats about going “too far left” in supporting the spending plan, which includes funds for fighting climate change, universal pre-K, child care, and an expansion of home health care.
“I believe in the president and I still do,” said Manchin, a key vote that Senate Democrats must secure in order to pass the legislation.
“We just have to work together. We can’t go too far left. This is not a center-left or a left country. We are a center, if anything a little center-right country. … And we ought to be able to recognize that,” he added.
“And all my friends on the left, to progressives or liberals, whatever, I said, I’m not. I always say that I’m a responsible West Virginia Democrat, and I am fiscally responsible and socially compassionate. I think most people in the middle feel that way,” Manchin continued.
Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) have managed to pare the Build Back Better Act’s price tag from the initial $3.5 trillion figure and won a number of concessions on climate, social spending initiatives and a tax on billionaires.
The West Virginian has said he would have to see an analysis of how much the final version of the bill would cost before he could support it.
The Democrats plan to push the Build Back Better legislation through the Senate using reconciliation, which allows passage of a measure by a simple majority and enables them to bypass the 60 votes required by the chamber’s legislative filibuster.
Going the reconciliation route means Democrats can’t afford to lose one vote in the 50-50 chamber, giving Manchin and Sinema the power to scuttle the legislation.