‘You’re Really F***ing Me,’ says a book about Biden’s pressure on Manchin.
According to a new book, President Joe Biden pressed Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to back the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, which was passed in March, in an expletive-laden phone call.
The phone call, according to veteran Washington Post writers Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, took place on March 5, one day before Senate legislators voted on the bill. “If you don’t come along, you’re really f—ing me,” Biden remarked in an excerpt from the book, according to the Post.
Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” was the package in question during the last-minute phone chat. Manchin had reservations about the plan’s scope of unemployment benefits at the time. According to Axios, Manchin was one of the Democrats who pressed the president to lower the amount of unemployment compensation while raising the income limitations on eligible individuals who were to receive $1,400 in payment checks before the relief package was passed.
According to Insider, Manchin, a moderate Democrat, fought and postponed Senate proceedings for nearly 11 hours before discussions finished and the stimulus bill was enacted.
In the past year, the West Virginia senator has demonstrated his negotiating power, and this time, he is asking major revisions in a $3.5 trillion spending bill that includes social spending and health care.
While Manchin stated earlier this month that he will not support the multibillion-dollar plan, he hinted that a smaller package might be acceptable.
On Sunday, he told Dana Bash of CNN’s “State of the Union” that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “won’t have my support on $3.5 [trillion], and Chuck knows it.”
He claimed that, unlike the American Rescue Plan, the $3.5 trillion package was not urgent. “What is the sense of urgency?” he inquired. Finally, the former West Virginia governor stated that “there is no way” Congress will make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Sept. 27 deadline.
Manchin isn’t the only Democrat who has expressed reservations about the bill’s size. According to CNN, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said the bill “falls short” owing to insufficient funding set aside for housing help.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema, D-Arizona, has also stated that she will not support the agreement.