A new book claims that President Biden pushed for a yes vote on the COVID-19 rescue plan, also known as the American Rescue Plan, from Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.).
The rumored conversation between Joe Biden and a moderate Democrat in March of 2021 was covered by The Atlantic’s Franklin Foer. Biden called the Democrat because he needed his support to pass his first significant piece of legislation.
Biden refrained from exerting any direct influence. But he could only take so much before snapping. He made the call and gave Manchin a direct message. He warned Manchin that if he didn’t come along, he would he’d “really be f***ing” him.
The book’s coverage of the 2021 call is similar to that of Peril, written by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa.
Without any votes from Republicans, the Democrats could use the budget reconciliation procedure to enact a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief plan. After several ballots, Manchin eventually agreed to back the measure, demonstrating the moderate senator’s sway in the deadlocked Senate.
Foer pointed out that weeks after the measure was enacted, Biden named Manchin’s wife to the Appalachian Regional Commission. First Lady Jill Biden and actress Jennifer Garner visited West Virginia a month later.
The relationship between Manchin and Vice President Harris during the early days of Biden’s presidency, when the administration was trying to convince Manchin to endorse the American Rescue Plan, is also detailed in the book.
Then-chief of staff Ron Klain apologized to Senator Joe Manchin for the annoyance caused by Harris’s interview on a West Virginia television station.
They lost Manchin’s state, he said, by a margin of 40 points. Klain groveled at the feet of Manchin, who didn’t much care for the Harris appearance on television, saying if they thought being on television in his state would intimidate and influence him, they would be mistaken.
Foer said that around this time, Manchin had visited the White House and inquired whether Harris would remain for a meeting.
The vice president and the president were mid-conversation when Manchin entered the Oval Office. Manchin enquired as to whether or not Harris intended to stay. In response, the President emphasized that there would be no guests. Harris got to her feet and walked out.
As told by Foer, his book is an insider’s look at Biden’s first two years in office. From November 2020 to February 2023, almost 300 interviews were collected for this book.