Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) surprised many with a major power play in the U.S. Senate on Friday.
"Manchin's outsized influence has cast its shadow over the Senate since the day the Democrats captured their scant 50-50 majority. He's already derailed a Cabinet nominee and led the opposition to a federal $15 minimum wage even as his party's leaders pushed for it. But Friday was Manchin's most quintessential moment: The centrist Democrat paralyzed the entire Senate for more than 10 hours and threatened to side with Republicans seeking to cut weeks of unemployment benefits," Politico reported Friday.
"In the end, it took a direct call from President Biden, a meeting with Schumer and significant concessions to get Manchin on board. He trimmed several weeks of unemployment benefits off of Sen. Tom Carper's (D-Del.) compromise amendment from earlier in the day and added a $150,000 cap to the proposal's tax deduction for up to $10,000 in unemployment benefits," Politico explained. "The episode perplexed Democrats, who said Manchin threatened what they understood to be a universally acceptable compromise extending unemployment payments through September and making those benefits nontaxable. That earlier deal also trimmed the weekly benefit from $400 to $300, as Manchin had sought."
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) was surprised by Manchin's move as West Virginia's GOP governor had urged Congress to go bigger on relief.
"I have no idea what he's doing, to be quite frank," she said. "Maybe you can tell me."