Democrats celebrated last week after the House passed a $1 trillion Senate-backed bipartisan infrastructure bill, which President Joe Biden will soon sign into law.
But the bipartisan infrastructure package was just one of a two-bill set for Biden's ambitious infrastructure goals. The other bill, the Build Back Better Act (BBB), allocates funds for "soft" infrastructure, such as childcare and medicare expansion, funds for battling the climate crisis, and lowered drug prices.
For months, Democratic senators have been wrangling to reach a final version of the bill, which has no Republican support and must pass through the reconciliation process to skirt the Senate filibuster. With an evenly divided Senate and Vice President Kamala Harris breaking any ties, every Democratic senator has to be on board.
As a result, BBB has been repeatedly slashed from allocating $6 trillion to $3 trillion to $1.75 trillion over 10 years. This hasn't yet mollified conservative Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a big oil beneficiary who continues to stall the bill's passage under the guise of fiscal responsibility.
Manchin's opposition has led Democratic voters to deem him a functional Republican, also citing his aversion to any and all reforms of the Senate filibuster as well.
As such, Manchin is getting high praise from Republicans—most recently from GOP megadonor and Home Depot founder Ken Langone in an appearance on CNBC's The Squawk Box.
"Thank God for Joe Manchin. The guy's got guts and courage and he did what he had to do and he'll continue to do what he has to do. ... I tell ya right now, he's a Democrat and I'm a Republican. I'm gonna have one of the biggest fundraisers I've ever had for him. He's special, he's precious, he's a great American."
Manchin getting support from Langone—who donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates and PACs last year alone—told Democrats everything they needed to know.
Others vowed never to patronize Home Depot.
A self-professed Democrat in the red state of West Virginia, Manchin's seat is probably safe as long as he continues to stall the party's agenda.