/Biden to Joe Manchin: Support COVID stimulus or youre really fucking me

Biden to Joe Manchin: Support COVID stimulus or youre really fucking me

  • President Joe Biden called Sen. Joe Manchin as the Senate prepared to advance the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. 
  • Biden told Manchin in a March 5 phone call: “If you don’t come along, you’re really fucking me.”
  • The reporting was revealed in a new book by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward and reporter Robert Costa.

Sen. Joe Manchin received a warning from President Joe Biden as Democrats aimed to pass his $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package this spring, according to a new book.

On a March 5 phone call, around the same time Senate Democrats were readying to advance the relief bill, Biden reportedly told Manchin: “If you don’t come along, you’re really fucking me.”

That’s according to an excerpt from the new book, “Peril,” by Washington Post editor Bob Woodward and reporter Robert Costa, which was published in the news outlet on Tuesday.

Since Democrats only hold a narrow majority in the Senate, Biden needed Manchin’s sign-off in order for the stimulus package to move forward on a straight party-line vote through a process called budget reconciliation. So Democrats worked to appease Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat known for being a moderate, through a series of negotiations.

At the time, Manchin had opposed elements of Biden’s plan, including an extension of unemployment benefits that was billed to tackle the economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Manchin had particularly resisted the size and the duration of the unemployment aid, Insider previously reported. The senator wanted to exclude tax relief for the unemployed and end a weekly $300 jobless benefit on July 18. The White House, on the other hand, endorsed the $300 weekly aid through September and sought to waive tax payments on the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits.

Manchin’s resistance stalled the Senate’s proceedings for almost 11 hours, until Democrats ultimately agreed on a new proposal: a $300 weekly benefit until September 6 and waive taxes on the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits for Americans who earned up to $150,000 in 2020.

The Senate eventually approved the stimulus bill and Biden signed it into law on March 11. The legislation included $1,400 stimulus checks, an expansion of the child tax credit, and billions of dollars to state governments and schools.

Now, Manchin is once again wielding his massive negotiating power as Democrats prepare to advance a $3.5 trillion spending package that covers a major chunk of Biden’s agenda. The proposal includes historic investments to expand the country’s social safety net, targeting education, health care, child care, and other areas. 

Democrats plan to pass the bill through the reconciliation process, requiring every Democratic senator’s support. But Manchin has disputed the multitrillion-dollar price tag, signaling more negotiations to come. 

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