New revelations from a book by Atlantic staff writer Franklin Foer have exposed President Biden’s aggressive tactics in pressuring Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to vote for the COVID-19 relief package, the American Rescue Plan.
Foer’s book, titled “The Last Politician: Inside Joe Biden’s White House and the Struggle for America’s Future,” sheds light on a reported call in March 2021 when Biden needed Manchin’s pivotal vote.
According to Foer, as reported by The Hill on Wednesday, September 6, 2023, Biden, who had refrained from applying personal pressure, delivered a stern message to Manchin during the call, saying, “Joe, if you don’t come along, you’re really —in me. I need you on this. Find your way to yes.”
This revelation echoes previous reporting by journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa in their book “Peril,” providing a detailed look at the high-stakes negotiations within the Democratic party.
“Biden had refrained from applying personal pressure. But there was a limit to his patience. He picked up the phone and delivered a stern message to Manchin. He stated the obvious,” Foer wrote as he stated the alleged exact words that the President said.
The COVID-19 relief bill, amounting to $1.9 trillion, was passed without Republican votes through the budget reconciliation process.
Manchin eventually supported it after Democrats made changes to extend unemployment benefits to secure his vote. This incident highlighted Manchin’s significant influence in the then evenly split Senate.
Furthermore, the book points out Biden’s assertiveness in pushing one of the most expensive and progressive pieces of legislation in American history without significant concessions.
It showcases the president’s determination to pass his agenda swiftly.
However, Manchin later signaled that he wouldn’t support another spending bill through reconciliation without a genuine effort from Biden to pursue bipartisan legislation, revealing the challenges of maintaining unity within the Democratic party.
The book also delves into the early relationship between Senator Manchin and Vice President Kamala Harris, including an incident where Harris’s interview on West Virginia local television reportedly annoyed Manchin. Then-White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain had to apologize to the senator.
These revelations provide insights into the dynamics within the Democratic party and the lengths to which President Biden was willing to go to secure crucial votes.
As the book continues to make headlines, it raises questions about Biden’s leadership style and the challenges he faces in maintaining party unity.