In response to allegations that the two Democrats quarreled, Ron Klain expressed the hope that Joe Manchin “likes” him.
When reflecting on how the climate measure came to pass, Klain claimed Manchin’s involvement had “never been personal.”
Klain emphasized that being “the heavy” is part of his duty as chief of staff for the White House.
Ron Klain, the director of staff for the White House, claimed to get along “quite well” with Sen. Joe Manchin, but he did not necessarily deny that the two argued while President Joe Biden’s economic program was in danger before a last-minute agreement.
Regarding his alleged conflicts with Manchin, Klain told Politico’s Ryan Lizza, “Look, it’s never been personal with Senator Manchin.” “I hope Senator Manchin likes me because I like him. I believe that we have gotten along well.”
Klain emphasized that one of the responsibilities of the top White House staffer is to serve as the president’s “heavy” and be willing to take whatever steps are necessary to see that the president’s program is carried through.
Being the heavy is a part of your duties as chief of staff of the White House, Klain added. As chief of staff at the White House, you have the responsibility of occasionally taking incoming calls.
Manchin consistently stood in the way of Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, and it seemed that their disagreements would only lead to modest action. Instead, the West Virginian stunned Washington by agreeing with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer on the “Inflation Reduction Act,” a $740 billion package. This week, the bill was signed into law by Biden.
Manchin admitted to being “at his wit’s end” with Biden’s team in December of last year after they released something that was “simply unforgivable.” Manchin’s longtime friend and ally Steve Clemmons later tweeted that the senator was furious with a White House statement that blamed him for the holdup in discussions.
According to a January article in The Post, “Manchin has told allies that he thinks Klain has pushed Biden to embrace a more liberal policy agenda, adding that Klain must mend their relationship if the chief of staff is to be included in future negotiations.”
Klain didn’t specifically address the news coverage of his relationship with Manchin, but he said that the White House made a deliberate choice to refer economic negotiations to Congress. After months of negotiations, Schumer and Manchin finally revealed their agreement.
Klain told Politico that when conversations take place at the White House, they are “extremely high profile, put a lot of pressure on everyone involved, and kind of produce a lot of breadcrumbs for the press to follow.” One of our goals was to lower the tension during these conversations and conduct them in a more subdued manner.
At the very least, relations between Manchin and Biden seem to be improving. An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by a Manchin representative.
Biden informed Manchin that he “never had a doubt” that a compromise would be reached as he signed the bill into law. The president then presented Manchin with the pen he used to sign the bill into law, a priceless historical artifact for significant pieces of legislation.
Since Biden typically only writes his name with one pen, as opposed to his successors, his pens have greater significance.
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