White House sent critical warning to Joe Manchin ahead of stimulus package

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White House sent critical warning to Joe Manchin ahead of stimulus package

The White House sent a critical warning to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-Wis., during a phone call last March ahead of the decision by veteran Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Robert Costa about the $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

The phone call reportedly took place on 5 March, one day before the Senate lawmakers voted on whether to approve Biden's American Rescue Plan. At the time Manchin, a moderate Democrat, was considered a critical roadblock after he voiced concerns about the scope of unemployment benefits in the relief package.

If you don't come along, you re really f - - ing me, Biden said during the call, according to the book, which was excerpted by the Post.

Manchin eventually joined other senators to pass the relief package in a 50 - 49 vote along party lines, handing Biden the first legislative victory of his presidency. The final bill passed after Democrats supported Manchin's last-minute call for a pared-down version of Biden's preferred federal unemployment benefits, and included several amendments that they supported.

Woodward and Costa said the book, Peril, was based on interviews with more than 200 people.

Manchin and other moderates have emerged as critical voices in the Senate, where the Democrats hold a razor-thin majority and cannot afford defections. The West Virginia senator could derail Biden s push for the Senate to approve a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation plan.

Manchin has balked at the package's cost and signals that he will oppose a significant attempt to impose a Democratic overhaul of 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 smaller deal.