(BBC) – A US Democratic senator who has proved a political thorn in the White House’s side has stunned Washington by announcing sudden support for President Joe Biden’s top agenda item.
Joe Manchin says he now backs a bill to raise corporate taxes, fight climate change and lower medicine costs.
The West Virginian previously objected to the proposal, citing fears more spending could worsen inflation.
Passage of the bill would be a major legislative victory for Mr Biden.
Salvaging a key plank of his domestic agenda could also grant a much-needed electoral boost for his fellow Democrats, who are battling to retain control of Congress as midterm elections loom in November.
“If enacted, this legislation will be historic,” said the president.
It is not clear what prompted the senator’s dramatic reversal to support the new bill. He is something of a political anomaly, representing a conservative state that voted overwhelmingly for former President Donald Trump.
Earlier this week, Mr Biden tested positive for Covid. He is fully vaccinated and wrote on Twitter that he was experiencing mild symptoms.