The Democratic party mainstays who have spent decades in the Senate have an important dynamic as they wrangle a sometimes unruly Congress
In the final hours ahead of the vote on Joe Biden’s Covid relief bill, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia had thrown his fellow Democrats a curveball. He had effectively put the entire bill in jeopardy by possibly joining Republicans on unemployment benefits.
Manchin seemed immovable. The White House legislative affairs team couldn’t get him to relent. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the top Democrat in the chamber, met with him as well, but couldn’t get him to budge, according to two Democrats with knowledge of those discussions. Eventually Manchin and Biden got on the phone directly, twice. The unemployment benefits in the bill were scaled back by a few weeks and the bill regained momentum.