President Biden issued a stern warning to Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va., in a phone call ahead of a critical vote on his $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package last March, according to an excerpt from a new book by veteran Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
“If you don’t come, you’re really fucking me,” Biden said on the call, according to the book, which was retrieved by The Post.
The phone call was reportedly made on March 5, a day before Senate lawmakers voted on whether or not to approve Biden’s “US bailout”. At the time, Manchin, a moderate Democrat, was seen as a major obstacle after expressing concerns about the scope of unemployment benefits in the relief plan.
Senator Kevin Cramer, RN.D., provides an overview of the Democrats’ $ 3.5 trillion spending bill. video
Senator Cramer: Democrats “largely in disarray” over $ 3.5 billion spending bill
Sen. Kevin Cramer, RN.D., gives an overview of Democrats’ $ 3.5 trillion spending bill.
Woodward and Costa said the book, titled “Peril,” was based on interviews with more than 200 people.
Manchin eventually joined other Senate Democrats in adopting the back-up plan in a 50-49 vote along party lines, giving Biden the first legislative victory of his presidency. The final bill was passed after Democrats nodded to Manchin’s last-minute call for a scaled-down version of Biden’s preferred federal unemployment benefits, and it included several Manchin-backed amendments.
Manchin and other moderates have become critical voices in the Senate, where Democrats hold a slim majority and cannot afford defections. The West Virginia senator could derail Biden’s pressure to get the Senate to approve a sweeping $ 3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan.
Manchin hesitated at the price of the package and signaled he would oppose a Democratic effort to force 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 approving a more modest deal.
Summary of the news:
- In a last-minute phone contact, Biden reportedly urged Manchin to support the $ 1.9 billion stimulus package, according to the book.
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