Biden reportedly said during the call, ‘If you don’t come along, you’re really liking me.
According to an excerpt from a new book by the veteran Washington Post, President Biden issued a stern warning to Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., during a phone call last March ahead of a crucial vote on his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package. Of. Journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
The phone call reportedly took place on March 5, a day before Senate lawmakers voted whether to approve Biden’s “American rescue plan.” At the time, Manchin, a moderate Democrat, was considered an important passage in the relief package after expressing concerns about the scope of unemployment benefits.
“If you don’t come along, you’re really f—ing me,” Biden said during the call, according to to book, which was quoted by the post.
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Munchkin eventually joined other Senate Democrats and passed the relief package in a 50-49 vote along party lines, handing Biden the first legislative victory of his presidency. The final bill passed when Democrats accepted Munchkin’s last-minute call for a less-than-average version of Biden’s preferred federal unemployment benefits, and included several of the amendments that Manchin supported.
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Woodward and Costa said the book “Peril” was based on interviews with over 200 people.
Munchkin and other moderates have emerged as critical voices in the Senate, where Democrats have a small majority and cannot afford defection. The West Virginia senator could derail Biden’s push for the Senate to approve a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan.
Munchkin has capped the price of the package and indicated he would oppose a Democratic effort to implement a significant overhaul of the corporate tax code. Earlier this month, Manchin said he would not support the $3.5 trillion plan, citing rising debt and inflation. He did not rule out the possibility of a small deal being cleared.