Democrats rejoiced earlier this year when two Senate victories in Georgia regained the party's control of the Senate, completing a trifecta of Democratic dominance unseen since after the 2010 midterms.
But with razor-thin majorities in both congressional chambers, optimism that Democrats would pass long-promised legislation on voting rights, LGBTQ equality, police reform, healthcare expansion, and more have been largely dashed.
The two Senators taking the most heat for this are conservative Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
Both Senators have refused to abolish or modify the Senate filibuster, which requires 60 votes for most bills to advance to debate and has effectively nullified the Democratic majority. Back in March, the Senators joined five other Democrats to vote against legislation that would've raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour. They've also been resistant to the most ambitious parts of the second part of Biden's ambitious infrastructure package, Build Back Better, even after their reservations resulted in the cost of the bill being cut in half.
Now, a new report from David Smith of the Guardian sheds some insight as to why the pair seems so content to be personae non gratae: They're making money.
The report reads in part:
"In September, Sinema received a [check] from Stanley Hubbard, a billionaire Republican donor who is considering a similar contribution to Manchin because of their work to reduce [Build Back Better]'s price tag, the New York Times reported this week. 'Those are two good people – Manchin and Sinema – and I think we need more of those in the Democratic party,' Hubbard was quoted as saying.
The newspaper also revealed Manchin, of West Virginia, and Sinema, of Arizona, travelled to an $18m mansion in Dallas for a summer fundraiser attended by Republican and big business donors who have praised their efforts to pare down the Build Back Better bill."
"The $3.3m raised by Manchin’s campaign in the first nine months of this year was more than 14 times his haul at the equivalent stage last year, the New York Times added, while the $2.6m taken in by Sinema’s campaign was two and a half times what she netted over the same period in 2020."
The development drew rage from Democrats eager to see a productive Congress.
Frustrations with Manchin and Sinema are through the roof.
Maybe they're paid too much to care?