Joe Manchin missed a furious call from Biden after sinking his $2 trillion spending bill on live TV and turning his phone off: report

Joe Manchin missed a furious call from Biden after sinking his $2 trillion spending bill on live TV and turning his phone off: report
President Joe Biden; Sen. Joe ManchinNina Riggio/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images; Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images
  • A new Washington Post story describes Biden's attempts to get Joe Manchin to back his spending plan.
  • The effort fell apart spectacularly when Manchin pulled his support in a Fox News interview.

Sen. Joe Manchin missed an angry message from President Joe Biden after tanking his signature $2 trillion Build Back Better plan in a Fox News interview and then turning his phone off, The Washington Post reported.

Biden had spent months negotiating with Manchin, whose support in the Senate was vital for getting Biden's plan through.

The Post report says Biden came close to securing Manchin's backing for a $1.8 trillion package covering social care and the climate crisis.

But the negotiations fell apart after the White House ignored a request from Manchin's office to remove the Democratic senator's name from a statement saying negotiations were still going on, The Post reported.

Manchin is said to have furiously texted a Biden aide to say the statement was "unconscionable and extremely dangerous" at a time when activists were targeting his family to protest his holding up the bill.


A few days later, in an interview on Fox News, Manchin announced he would not back the bill. With Manchin firmly against it, the bill stood no chance of passing.

The interview marked the breakdown of negotiations, The Post reported. The outlet said that after the interview, Manchin missed a frustrated call from the president because he'd turned his phone off.

The report said that when Biden and Manchin spoke later, the exchange was "heated and tense," adding that in conversations with aides, Biden expressed doubt about Manchin's intentions.

Manchin told Insider in January that he'd taken his offer of a $1.8 trillion compromise off the table and that any new discussions about a bill would be "starting from scratch."

To get the bill through the Senate, the Biden administration needed the backing of all 50 Democratic senators using a legislative maneuver called budget reconciliation that allows them to sidestep GOP resistance.


The failure to secure Manchin's support means a key element of Biden's domestic agenda is stalled. Democratic pledges to boost funding to tackle the climate emergency, widen access to higher education and affordable housing, and secure the extension of a monthly child allowance are all withering in Congress.

Negotiations are ongoing between Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer over a slimmed-down version of the bill. They've met three times over the past month to draw up a package that could meet the West Virginia Democrat's narrow parameters of support.

Manchin's chief priorities include stepping up taxes on the richest Americans, shrinking the federal deficit, and slashing the cost of prescription drugs. He's voiced support for limiting the cost of insulin to $35 a month, saying last week that cutting drug prices is the "one thing" his party must achieve this year.