How secret negotiations revived Joe Biden's agenda and shocked Washington

(CNN) It was the middle of the night in Saudi Arabia when word emerged from Washington that President Joe Biden's long-stalled domestic agenda was dead.
Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer shocked most of Washington on Wednesday when they announced, after restarting their negotiations in secret four days after they fell apart, an agreement on a version of Biden's long-stalled climate, energy and tax agenda.
It's less than half the size of Biden's original Build Back Better bill, and Manchin made sure to emphasize that name had been scrapped.
But after appearing moribund for months, the agreement injected new life into ambitions that many Democrats had mostly put aside.
The climate and tax deal came together in almost complete secret, catching many by surprise Wednesday when it was announced in the late afternoon.
Senior administration officials had by then adopted a deeply skeptical view of negotiations between Manchin and Schumer over reviving the President's plans.
Passing each other in a Capitol hallway on July 18, Manchin asked Schumer if he was still upset.
Schumer was firm with Manchin that a climate deal needed to be reached before then.
As the deal was coming together in the past several days, both Biden and Manchin became infected with Covid.
Some saw the timing as less-than-coincidental; Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell had vowed to block the chips measure if Democrats advanced a bill containing Biden's agenda.
Speaking behind closed doors Thursday, Schumer told Democrats they were on the precipice of passing items they'd been talking about for years.
"It will require us to stick together and work long days and nights for the next 10 days," he said.