Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and President Joe Biden spoke Sunday night after a major blowup in negotiations around the president’s domestic agenda, three people familiar with the call told POLITICO.
The conversation ended with a sense that negotiations would, in fact, resume around the Build Back Better Act in some form in the new year. The tone of conversation was cordial and it was agreed that they would speak again on legislative priorities.
White House staff had given Manchin a heads-up on Thursday that the president was soon to put out a statement accepting a delay in the Build Back Better Act and that it was going to mention the West Virginia senator by name. Manchin objected, asking that either his name be left out or that he not be alone because his family had already been the target of abuse and he didn’t want to be singled out.
But the statement went out anyway, and contained only Manchin’s name. The senator then snapped at White House aides and told them that he was done negotiating. The West Wing interpreted that as meaning that current talks were done but could pick up again next year.
But Manchin meant that he was totally walking away — which he said publicly a few days later on Fox News Sunday, in a move that blindsided and outraged the White House.
Manchin’s office declined to comment.
With reporting from Burgess Everett
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