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US Chamber of Commerce won't pull support for lawmakers who objected to election results on January 6

“We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the election certification,” Chamber of Commerce National Political Director Ashlee Rich Stephenson said in the memo, first reported by the Washington Post.
“There is a meaningful difference between a member of Congress who voted no on the question of certifying the votes of certain states and those who engaged and continue to engage in repeated actions that undermine the legitimacy of our elections and institutions,” Stephenson said.

Many major businesses announced they would be suspending contributions to Republican members of Congress who supported an objection to the 2020 presidential election results on January 6. A CNN analysis of Fortune 500 companies found 280 had made donations to members of Congress who supported overturning the election results. Of those 280, over 100 committed to suspending donations in some form.

In the wake of the January 6 attack on the Capitol, US Chamber of Commerce CEO Tom Donohue called former President Donald Trump’s role in the attack “absolutely unacceptable and completely inexcusable.”

At the time, Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Neil Bradley said the Chamber would not be supporting some members of Congress.
“I actually want to be very clear: There are some members, who by their actions, will have forfeited the support of the US Chamber of Commerce. Period. Full Stop,” Bradley said.

In the memo released Friday, the Chamber of Commerce drew a distinction between those who objected to certifying the election results and those who they said have been more active in pushing conspiracy theories.
“Casting a vote is different than organizing the rally of January 6th or continuing to push debunked conspiracy theories,” Stephenson said. “We will take into consideration actions such as these and future conduct that erodes our democratic institutions.”

Black mother pepper-sprayed in front of her toddler, police say

The incident is the latest involving Rochester police officers that have prompted widespread criticism and condemnation.
Bodycam footage from the February 22 incident shows an officer, responding to a shoplifting complaint, confronting a woman, who is seen holding the toddler.

The woman proceeds to show the officer the inside of her purse, insisting that she did not steal anything.

The video shows the officer asking the woman to wait with him, but she runs away with the child in her arms. The officer then chases her down the street, tackles her in a parking lot and restrains her.

The child can be seen wandering and crying amid the struggle until another officer arrives at the scene and pulls the child away.
In a statement, the Rochester Police Department said the officers were responding to a report of a female shoplifter who was “arguing with store employees and refusing to leave.”
The woman who was pepper-sprayed matched the description of the suspect in the complaint, police said.
“The child was not pepper sprayed or injured during the arrest,” the statement continues. “The female was charged with trespassing and given an appearance ticket.”
The officer in question has been placed on administrative duty until an internal investigation is completed, police said.
The Rochester Police Department has not responded to CNN’s request for comment.

Multiple incidents

Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriot-Sullivan said during a news conference on Friday that it appears that the officers were following department policy on pepper spray, which is allowed if the individual is “physically resisting.”
But questions are being raised about the need for the use of such force.

The department has been under fire since the death of Daniel Prude last year, a Black man who was having a mental health crisis.
Rochester police officers handcuffed him and covered his head with a “spit sock” after he spat on officers, according to the bodycam footage.
In another encounter on January 29, body camera footage showed Rochester officers handcuffing and pepper-spraying a 9-year-old while responding to what police said was a report of “family trouble.”
Another incident occurred in May 2020 when a 10-year-old girl was handcuffed during a traffic stop.

‘A different strategy’

The Police Accountability Board, which held a news conference on Friday to address the incident, said the department needs to “fundamentally change its organizational culture.”
The board said there are “troubling parallels” between the February 22 incident and the pepper-spraying of the 9-year-old in January.
“Both incidents involved Black mothers. Both involved Black children. Both involved Black people obviously in crisis. Both involved officers using pepper spray on or around a Black child,” the board’s statement reads.

The Rochester Police Union did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rochester Police Executive Deputy Chief Andre Anderson said during the Friday news conference that the department is working on “policy changes,” which include training courses on de-escalation and race relations.
“We need to understand how to respond to young people and where they’re coming from,” he said.

“When incidents like this occur, I am relieved that I ensured body-worn cameras are worn by our police, so we can see what occurs on our streets and hold officers accountable,” said Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren in a statement.
“Change will not come until we have the ability to fully hold our officers accountable when they violate the public’s trust,” she said.

CNN’s Saffeya Ahmed, Laura James, Kay Jones, Alec Snyder and Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.

China turns its back on Hong Kong loyalists

China’s most devoted supporters in Hong Kong are claiming that they have been cut out of decisions about changes to the territory’s electoral system.
Analysts said this was because of Beijing’s frustration with the inability of the city’s elite to quash anti-government sentiment in the city that exploded in pro-democracy protests in 2019. 
Beijing has traditionally relied on a loose network of pro-China lawmakers, tycoons and advisers to its parliament to help govern Hong Kong, telegraph its messages and to serve as a sounding board for new ideas before they are rolled out.

But Chinese officials are making sweeping changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system without consulting many of the city’s loyalists. Instead Beijing has looked towards its newly installed mainland representatives in the city and select older politicians for advice.
The changes, under which Beijing will further increase its control over who qualifies to be a lawmaker in Hong Kong via a new vetting system, were announced at the weeklong annual meeting of the National People’s Congress, China’s rubber-stamp parliament. At the opening session on Friday, Wang Chen, an NPC vice-chairman, said Hong Kong’s electoral system had “loopholes and deficiencies” that could allow “anti-China forces” to seize control of the city.
Regina Ip, a staunch pro-government lawmaker who has most recently supported China’s internationally condemned Xinjiang policy, suggested she was out of the loop and Beijing was changing who it listened to.

“I am not privy to any thoughts on the part of Beijing officials . . . maybe they have consulted the top most trusted advisers,” Ip told the Financial Times. “The former strategy of consultation [with Hong Kong elites] did not end well, it did not produce the results Beijing wanted.”
A member of the executive council who advises Carrie Lam, Hong Kong chief executive, said he did not believe any council member had seen a blueprint of the reforms a month before they were due to be announced. 

One pro-establishment lawmaker said he and many of his colleagues were excluded from a symposium in Shenzhen in February on the electoral changes, which was attended by the new officials, “old guard” politicians such as Rita Fan, a former representative to China’s legislature, and some businessmen. 
“What the central government is determined to create is not rubber stamps or loyal garbage, but virtuous patriots,” wrote Tian Feilong, the director of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies — a mainland semi-official think-tank in Beijing — in Ming Pao, a Hong Kong newspaper. 
In his first big intervention since taking office, Xia Baolong, the head of Beijing’s office that oversees Hong Kong and Macau, said the central government had to take charge of the changes, rather than Hong Kong officials.
The reforms would increase Beijing’s already significant role in Hong Kong politics. China can already determine who is elected chief executive as the candidate is chosen by a committee weighted heavily in favour of the financial hub’s pro-Beijing camp and tycoons who have traditionally supported the government.
Opposition parties used to at least have a chance of winning a majority in the city’s legislature but authorities have disqualified, or are prosecuting, opposition politicians.
Ho-Fung Hung, Johns Hopkins University professor, said China did not want to take the “slightest chance” of the elections not going their way
“[The Chinese government] are not sure they have full control of the elite [and] Beijing don’t fully trust the tycoons in the election committee post 2019,” Hung said, referring to the pro-democracy demonstrations that year.
The city was promised a high degree of autonomy in the 1997 handover from the UK. The electoral changes, however, would increase the tempo of Beijing’s direct interventions in Hong Kong’s affairs, which began with the imposition of a harsh national security law last year.
Jasper Tsang, a founding member of Hong Kong’s largest pro-Beijing political party, said the last time he had been consulted by Chinese officials was following the law’s introduction. “I’m not sure how much difference it [the consultation] made,” he said.
CY Leung, a former Hong Kong chief executive and vice-chairman of the mainland’s top political advisory body, is one of China’s most vocal advocates in the territory, but he said he had not attended any formal consultation sessions over electoral reforms.
Caught by surprise by the strength of the pro-democracy protests in 2019, Beijing signalled its displeasure at the lack of warning by replacing officials who represented the central government in the city.
Some of its new appointees are known for overhauling wayward provinces. Luo Huining, Beijing’s newly appointed head of the Central Liaison Office, rooted out corrupt officials in Shanxi province. 
Two pro-Beijing Hong Kong politicians told the FT that mainland officials appointed to the Liaison Office were keeping their distance from the city’s traditional elites.
“I think Beijing would like to have some new blood,” said Lau Siu-kai at the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies.
To that end, China has expanded its official presence in the city with a new National Security Department office based on Hong Kong island. “[Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s leader] will govern day to day, but the office is like a big brother with his arm around her shoulder,” one government official said.
Leung suggested Hong Kong lawmakers and elites had to accept Beijing’s greater role in the city’s affairs. “[Hong Kong] is a local government after all,” he said. “We are not Singapore.”

District attorney investigating Trump hires lawyer with expertise in racketeering cases

John Floyd is expected to assist the district attorney’s office on multiple cases in the white collar, gang and public corruption units, said Jeff DiSantis, a spokesman for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis.
Two people familiar with his hiring said he was not retained specifically for the investigation into Trump’s post-election call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.

“He was retained for his racketeering expertise generally — not for any specific case,” said DiSantis.

Floyd declined to comment. His hiring was first reported by Reuters.

Floyd would be an asset if Willis decided to pursue a complicated racketeering case against Trump. It is one of the potential charges she is investigating, according to document preservation requests Willis sent out last month.
Willis’ office has not yet determined how it will structure the team investigating the former President. They are actively looking at bringing on more outside expertise, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

Lawmaker fires back at Tucker Carlson's QAnon spin

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Biden administration expected to form task force to deal with hack linked to China

There are an estimated 30,000 affected customers in the US and 250,000 globally, though those numbers are expected to increase, the US official told CNN.
The White House declined to comment on the number of victims affected.

“We are undertaking a whole of government response to assess and address the impact. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued an emergency directive to agencies and we’re now working with our partners and looking closely at the next steps we need to take. This is an active threat still developing and we urge network operators to take it very seriously,” a White House official said.

The task force or, “Unified Coordination Group” (UCG), is a multi-agency effort initiated by the National Security Council, that includes FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and others, the US official said.

The National Security Agency also has a role in the response, though it’s not immediately clear if its involvement is codified as part of the UCG directive, according to another source familiar with the situation.
“This has the potential to simultaneously affect organizations that are critical to everyday life in the US,” a source familiar with the investigation into the attack told CNN, noting that state and local government agencies were among those affected.

The White House official told CNN the situation is an “active threat.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday that “everyone running these servers — government, private sector, academia — needs to act now to patch them.”
Psaki’s warnings followed a tweet by national security adviser Jake Sullivan Thursday evening that underscored how concerned the Biden administration is. He urged IT administrators nationwide to install software fixes immediately. Sullivan said the US government is monitoring reports that US think tanks may have been compromised by the attack, as well as “defense industrial base entities.”

CNN’s Brian Fung and Geneva Sands contributed to this report.

New body cam video shows man telling officers 'I can't breathe' before he died in 2017

In an introduction to the edited video released Friday, former Fresno Police Chief Andrew Hall said 41-year-old Joseph Perez was contacted by officers from the Fresno Police Department in May 2017 after they saw him acting erratically and believed he needed help. Perez was not cooperative, prompting officers to restrain him face down on the pavement for his own safety as they waited for paramedics to arrive, Hall said.
Paramedics eventually arrived on scene and decided to restrain Perez, who was lying face down, to a backboard. A Fresno officer was asked to sit on the backboard for about a minute while paramedics strapped Perez to the backboard.

Perez lost consciousness, Hall said. Paramedics attempted to save his life in the ambulance, but they were unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Perez’s family has filed a lawsuit against law enforcement officers, paramedics and others. The defendants have denied the allegations in court documents. The death was ruled a homicide by the county coroner, an attorney for the family told CNN.

The body camera footage was posted on the Fresno Police Department’s YouTube channel Friday under a federal court order. The family had previously requested its release, but it was delayed after American Ambulance, a California EMS that serves Fresno County, objected. In an introduction to the video, Hall said he had been in favor of releasing the video in late July 2020 “in the spirit of transparency.”
“Despite the Defendants’ efforts to keep this footage confidential, truth and transparency have prevailed,” Neil Gehlawat, an attorney for Perez’s family, said in a statement. “The Perez family is deeply troubled by the circumstances leading to Joseph’s death, especially in light of the police violence epidemic plaguing the country.”
A spokesperson for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office and the coroner declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation. American Ambulance has not responded to CNN’s requests for comment. However, in a statement to CNN affiliate KFSN, the company said its mission was to “care for people.”
“Regardless of who the patient may be, our goal is always to administer excellent care and to treat everyone with the same level of dignity and respect,” the statement said. “Our job is simply to help people and save lives. This was as true for Joseph Perez as it is for anyone else.”

‘I can’t breathe’

On May 10, 2017, the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a resident who said a man was erratically running into a busy street. In audio of the call, included in Friday’s video, a man is heard describing Perez as “running sideways” and “just acting real, real strange.”
Three Fresno police officers who were unaware of the 911 call came upon Perez by chance and stopped, seeing that he needed help. According to Hall, the officers thought the man “was possibly on drugs, alcohol or suffering from some sort of mental distress.”
Perez had a history of contact with law enforcement, Hall said. The previous day, he’d been discharged from a hospital after a mental health evaluation by other Fresno police officers, though this was unknown to the officers at the time of the fatal incident, Hall said.

Perez became uncooperative after officers approached him and he was handcuffed for his own safety, Hall said. Deputies from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department soon arrived, and officials from both agencies requested an ambulance, according to Hall.
Sheriff’s deputies and police officers tried to calm Perez, but he “continued to be uncooperative and physically combative,” Hall said. Authorities laid him face down on the sidewalk while waiting for emergency medical personnel, but Perez started “grinding his forehead into the sidewalk,” he said.
In the body cam footage released Friday, authorities are heard repeatedly asking Perez to calm down. Perez is heard screaming and cursing.
“Please help me,” Perez is heard saying.
Paramedics from American Ambulance arrive on scene, and a blue plastic backboard is seen being placed on Perez’s back. An officer is instructed by a paramedic to sit on it while emergency personnel finish securing him.
As officers struggle to restrain him, Perez is heard crying out, “oh god” and “I can’t breathe.”
“Sit on that board,” a paramedic tells an officer.
According to Hall, the officer sat on the backboard on Perez’s buttocks for one minute and 15 seconds before the paramedic told the officer to get up. Paramedics then took Perez away in the ambulance, but he was pronounced dead at Community Regional Medical Center.

4 agencies investigated incident

The Fresno County Coroner’s Office ruled Perez’s death a homicide caused by “compression asphyxia,” Gehlawat said. In his statement, he said “compression asphyxia during restraint is all too common and we hope to expose this pervasive tactic used by law enforcement officers across the country.”
The family is “disturbed that the involved officers, deputies, and paramedics are still employed by their respective agencies and have not been prosecuted,” the attorney said.
In Friday’s video, Hall said “Perez was found to have a level of methamphetamine in his system that was 24 times the toxic level at the time of his death,” and that it was a contributing factor.

Hall said the incident was “thoroughly investigated” by four different agencies, including the police department, the sheriff’s office, the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and the City of Fresno’s Office of Independent Review.
“All four agencies concluded that the officers and deputies did not use excessive force and their actions were within policy, and that both the sheriff’s department and the police department were following directions from emergency medical staff on scene,” Hall said.

“On behalf of myself and the entire Fresno Police Department, I would like to express my deepest condolences to the family of Joseph Perez for their loss,” he said.
The Perez family’s case is set to go to trial in May 2022.

CNN’s Chris Boyette contributed to this report.

ROSEN, A HIGHLY RECOGNIZED LAW FIRM, Encourages Renewable Energy Group, Inc. Investors with Losses in Excess of $100K to Secure Counsel Before Important Deadline – REGI

NEW YORK, March 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ —
WHY: Rosen Law Firm, a global investor rights law firm, announces the filing of a class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers of the securities of Renewable Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: REGI) between May 3, 2018 and February 25, 2021, inclusive (the “Class Period”). A class action lawsuit has already been filed. If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than May 3, 2021.
SO WHAT: If you purchased Renewable Energy Group securities during the Class Period you may be entitled to compensation without payment of any out of pocket fees or costs through a contingency fee arrangement.
WHAT TO DO NEXT: To join the Renewable Energy Group class action, go to http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-register-2048.html or call Phillip Kim, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email [email protected] or [email protected] for information on the class action. A class action lawsuit has already been filed. If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court no later than May 3, 2021. A lead plaintiff is a representative party acting on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation.
WHY ROSEN LAW: We encourage investors to select qualified counsel with a track record of success in leadership roles. Often, firms issuing notices do not have comparable experience or resources. The Rosen Law Firm represents investors throughout the globe, concentrating its practice in securities class actions and shareholder derivative litigation. Rosen Law Firm has achieved the largest ever securities class action settlement against a Chinese Company. Rosen Law Firm was Ranked No. 1 by ISS Securities Class Action Services for number of securities class action settlements in 2017. The firm has been ranked in the top 3 each year since 2013 and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for investors. In 2019 alone the firm secured over $438 million for investors. In 2020 founding partner Laurence Rosen was named by law360 as a Titan of Plaintiffs’ Bar. Many of the firm’s attorneys have been recognized by Lawdragon and Super Lawyers.
DETAILS OF THE CASE:  According to the lawsuit, defendants throughout the Class Period made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) due to failures in the diesel additive system, petroleum diesel was not periodically added to certain loads by the Company and was instead added by the Company’s customers; (2) as a result, Renewable Energy Group was not the proper claimant for certain biodiesel tax credit (BTC) payments on biodiesel it sold between January 1, 2017 and September 30, 2020; (3) a result, Renewable Energy Group’s revenue and net income were overstated for certain periods; (4) there was a material weakness in the Company’s internal control over financial reporting related to the purchase and use of the petroleum diesel gallons when blending with biodiesel; and (5) that, as a result of the foregoing, defendants’ positive statements about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects were materially misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis. When the true details entered the market, the lawsuit claims that investors suffered damages.
To join the Renewable Energy Group class action, go to http://www.rosenlegal.com/cases-register-2048.html or call Phillip Kim, Esq. toll-free at 866-767-3653 or email [email protected] or [email protected] for information on the class action.
No Class Has Been Certified. Until a class is certified, you are not represented by counsel unless you retain one. You may select counsel of your choice. You may also remain an absent class member and do nothing at this point. An investor’s ability to share in any potential future recovery is not dependent upon serving as lead plaintiff.
Follow us for updates on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-rosen-law-firm, on Twitter: https://twitter.com/rosen_firm or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rosenlawfirm/.
Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.
——————————-
Contact Information:
      Laurence Rosen, Esq.
      Phillip Kim, Esq.
      The Rosen Law Firm, P.A.
      275 Madison Avenue, 40th Floor
      New York, NY 10016
      Tel: (212) 686-1060
      Toll Free: (866) 767-3653
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Trump says he'll campaign against Murkowski in Alaska next year

“I will not be endorsing, under any circumstances, the failed candidate from the great State of Alaska, Lisa Murkowski,” Trump said in a statement first reported by Politico. “She represents her state badly and her country even worse. I do not know where other people will be next year, but I know where I will be — in Alaska campaigning against a disloyal and very bad Senator.”
Saturday was not the first time Trump threatened to campaign against Murkowski, making a pledge to do so in a series of critical tweets in June. But his attacks on Republican incumbents are another example of the sharp divide between the establishment wing of the party, represented by people like Murkowski and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the Trump wing in the wake of his presidency.

Murkowski was one of seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial last month and is the only one facing voters next year.

During Trump’s first public speech since leaving office, at the Conservative Political Action Conference late last month, he called Murkowski and other Republicans who backed impeachment “grandstanders” and “Republicans in name only,” or “RINOs.”

But earlier this week, McConnell committed that Senate Republicans will support Murkowski regardless of Trump’s actions.
“Absolutely,” McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, replied when asked by CNN if the National Republican Senatorial Committee would back Murkowski.

In his statement on Saturday, Trump pointed to Murkowski’s vote to confirm Deb Haaland, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Interior Secretary.
“(Murkowski’s) vote to advance radical left democrat (sic) Deb Haaland for Secretary of the Interior is yet another example of Murkowski not standing up for Alaska,” Trump said.

CNN has reached out to Murkowski’s office for comment.
The moderate Republican has experience surviving challenges from the right. In 2010, for example, after losing the Republican nomination (and GOP leadership’s support), she went on to win the general election as a write-in candidate. Also working in the senator’s favor this cycle may be a new “top four” system in the state, where all candidates run together in a nonpartisan primary and the four top finishers advance to the general election, where voters rank their preferences.

CNN’s Manu Raju and Ted Barrett contributed to this report.

How Democrats miscalculated Manchin and later won him back

Just a couple hours earlier as he walked onto the floor ahead of votes on Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief plan, Manchin was stunned about the last-minute dealings of his party’s leaders with the backing of the White House. For the first time, he learned that Democrats were seeking to advance a new plan on jobless benefits that would allow people to ensure their first $10,200 was tax free.

Manchin told colleagues he knew nothing about that tax provision. Yet Democratic leaders thought that Manchin was on board since their rank-and-file senators had reached out to him and reported back to party bosses that he was with them. They’d told the White House things were in good shape.

Yet Manchin was not on board, making clear he was not going to be jammed by his party leaders into accepting something he didn’t like, according to sources who talked him, underscoring the power of an individual senator to derail the new President’s agenda in the 50-50 Senate.

Asked why Democratic leaders’ dispute with Manchin wasn’t resolved ahead of time, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Saturday: “We thought it was.”

The resulting confusion and chaos — and miscommunication between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his most important swing vote — put Washington on edge, threatened to blow up a delicately negotiated compromise and forced Democrats to leave a vote open longer than any in modern history — nearly 12 hours — as they engaged in a furious lobbying campaign and horse-trading to get Manchin on board.
Privately, about half a dozen Democratic senators were engaged in constant discussions with Manchin, hoping to find a way to win him back — all as Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman was speaking with Manchin multiple times an hour about his own alternative that Manchin supported but that Democratic leaders wanted to defeat.

“I was trying to be the catcher in the rye. I was trying to keep him talking to the leadership,” said Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine who said he was speaking with Manchin “constantly” on Friday. “My goal was to keep him talking and not let it fall apart.”
For Biden, though, the approach amounted to a soft-sell. He was deliberately careful not to add pressure to the situation, instead choosing to give Manchin space and listen to his concerns, a source with knowledge of the discussion said. But Biden did underscore one overarching point: how crucial it was to reach an agreement to get the bill toward the finish line given the urgency of the current economic and public health crisis. Manchin, two sources said, was urged by the President to do what he thought was right — in essence to vote his conscience.
It was a reflection of a relationship that multiple sources said has been in a solid place since Biden took office — Manchin of the mind that Biden is an honest broker, and Biden cognizant of the fact Manchin is his own senator and doesn’t take kindly to being jammed.
Manchin, who characterized his Friday conversation with Biden as “good,” said Saturday the talks “took longer than it should have.” But he added: “We got it done, and we got a better deal.”
“Let’s just say we had some projects that lasted 12 hours,” said Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin. “It took a little longer than we thought.

Manchin had privately signed off on GOP plan

Days prior, Manchin had committed to backing an alternative plan by Portman, who proposed extending jobless benefits to $300 a week through July, reducing the benefit by $100 in the bill that passed the House.
But Democrats, fearful that the Portman plan would pass, worked privately behind the scenes to move forward with their own proposal to head off the Portman plan. The new Democratic plan would also reduce the benefits to $300 but extend them through September. And in order to head off backlash from the left by simply slashing back on the benefits, they added a sweetener: Ensuring that the first $10,200 would not be taxed.
By mid-morning Friday, Democratic leaders were feeling confident with where they were heading. They believed Manchin had signed off on the proposal, after his conversations with a fellow swing vote, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, the lead sponsor of the plan. But Manchin said Friday morning he had no knowledge of the tax provision.

“I never heard about this at all. This is the first time I’ve ever heard about it, that morning. I said, ‘Wait a minute,'” Manchin told reporters Saturday about the provision.
And he bluntly told his colleagues Friday he would not vote for the plan unless there were changes, prompting a day-long lobbying effort and leaving many of his colleagues perplexed.
Asked by CNN why he didn’t resolve his differences with Manchin on the front-end, Schumer suggested he was surprised by the pushback by his West Virginia colleague.
“People have new differences all the time,” Schumer said Saturday after the bill’s passage. He added: “That eight hours is meaningless compared to the relief that the American people are going to get. And if it helped us get to that, great.”
The failure to sort out their differences on the front-end surprised many Democrats because the two men have a frank and blunt relationship.
“I truly love all of my caucus,” Schumer said. Even Manchin? “Yes. Absolutely,” the New York Democrat said.
But many were nervous that the whole effort could collapse.
On Friday as Schumer, Carper and others were scrambling to fix the Manchin problem, Carper sat alone on a couch in the private Senate foyer. He was hunched over with his head almost between his knees and a phone held tightly to his ear. He looked both pained by what was happening and intent on fixing it. He later told a Republican colleague things were looking grim.
“We’re stuck,” Carper told Cornyn in the halls of the Senate.
“It was frustrating,” Stabenow said when asked about the nearly 12 hours that the Senate was in gridlock. “We were trying to figure a way forward, which we did. I always felt that was possible. I always felt we would.”

Day-long horsetrading and arm-twisting

Manchin and Democratic leaders were frantically trading proposals back and forth, multiple sources familiar with the talks said. Manchin, according to one source familiar with the matter, wanted the amendment broken up into two so that the Senate could vote separately on the weekly unemployment benefit of $300 and the tax-free component.
Without the two items packaged together, however, Democratic leaders knew the tax-free piece would fail. Leadership tried to impress upon Manchin multiple times that what the senior senator from West Virginia was asking for would not pass the House, where Speaker Nancy Pelosi had her own narrow margin and a group of progressives was already upset that the $15 minimum wage had been stripped from the Senate bill.
“It was pretty clear that there was an enormous amount of pressure,” said South Dakota Sen. John Thune, the No. 2 Republican. “In a situation in the Senate with narrow margins, every man is a king and every woman is a queen.”
The White House was involved and consulted throughout, with officials working through the numbers of the various proposals that were traded back and forth, officials said. But they were also aware that this was a matter being negotiated by key Senate Democrats — and made a point of being available, but not overbearing, the officials said. Biden was available, but would only end up making one call to Manchin. He did, however, stay in touch with Schumer throughout.
A senior administration official specifically pointed to Carper and Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon, Jon Tester of Montana and Mark Warner of Virginia, along with Schumer, as individuals who “deserve a huge amount of credit” for working through the final compromise.

The primary focus for the White House throughout the hours of talks was ensuring any agreement did not change the overall contours of the rescue plan, the official said. That baseline, which was the driving force for the creation of the plan itself, was ensuring the help “goes to the people who really need the help and being realistic about how long it will take the economy to recover,” the official said.
The final agreement with Manchin, White House officials determined, would still accomplish those goals. Biden agreed.
“The end result is essentially about the same, and so I don’t think any of the compromises have in any way fundamentally altered the essence of what I put in the bill in the first place,” Biden told reporters Saturday after the vote.
Ultimately, they all signed off on a plan to cap the eligibility of the non-taxable component to households with an annual income under $150,000 and extend the $300 in weekly benefits until September 6.
After the deal was struck, senators were ready to vote. But it wasn’t until an hour before midnight when the Senate would begin voting in earnest on the flood of amendments that Republicans proposed, forcing senators to pull an all-nighter as Democrats rejected GOP calls to adjourn until Saturday morning.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, an 86-year-old Oklahoma Republican who told CNN he suffered a concussion in the last week after falling on ice, said he stayed up all night until the final vote to pass the bill shortly after noon on Saturday. But it wasn’t easy.
“It made for a very difficult night,” Inhofe said of his concussion.
On Saturday, as they were waiting for the final passage vote to start, Manchin walked all the way over to Portman’s desk and the two talked for several minutes in a very friendly and animated way.

As Manchin was about to leave they gave a little bit of a Covid-inspired hug, shoving their shoulders together, and Portman very quickly put his arm around Manchin’s back.
Asked about the exchange later, Portman said: “We have to continue to work together and I appreciate that he kept his word and stuck to my proposal even though he was strongly persuaded not to. I looked at him one point like 12 hours ago and said, ‘Joe, your arm looks kind of mangled. Was it twisted?'”