Over 12 hours last Friday, the White House’s top legislative priority—a gargantuan $1.9 trillion relief bill making its way through the U.S. Senate—teetered on the brink of derailment.
That morning, President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats had agreed on a compromise for structuring unemployment benefits in the coming months, a major victory with the deadline for those payments less than two weeks away. But when it came to a vote, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), caught off guard by the new language, balked. The chamber was frozen for the rest of the day, and night, as both members in both parties worked over the Senate’s swing vote.
Fortunately for them, Reema Dodin was on hand. A 15-year veteran of Sen. Dick Durbin’s (D-IL) office, the 39-year old aide had served for a decade as the second-ranking Democrat’s floor director—the person tasked with keeping the Senate’s trains running on time and translating that schedule for everyone else.