The centerpiece of Joe Biden's domestic agenda, the $2 trillion "Build Back Better" spending package, has been dealt a possibly fatal blow by a fellow Democrat, who calls it bad for America.
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said Sunday he just can't vote for it. "I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation. I just can't. I've tried everything humanly possible. I can't get there," Manchin announced on Fox News Sunday, "This is a 'no'."
Manchin said he opposes the expensive package that Republicans have called a welfare goody bag because of concerns about inflation and the growing federal debt. "The inflation that I was concerned about, it's not transitory. It's real. It's harming every West Virginian."
While the spending package is advertised as $2 trillion over 10 years, and the White House has claimed its true cost would be "zero," one study showed its real cost would be $4.6 trillion.
Manchin also accused Democrats in a written statement of trying to "...dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face."
The far left in the Democratic Party, the so-called "progressive wing," is furious with the moderate Manchin.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders said on CNN, "I think he's gonna have a lot of explaining to do to the people of West Virginia, to tell them why he doesn't have the guts to take on the drug companies and lower the cost of prescription drugs, why he is not prepared to expand home health care when West Virginia is one of the poorest states in this country."
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued a statement saying, "Today, Senator Manchin has betrayed his commitment not only to the President and Democrats in Congress but most importantly, to the American people."
Manchin has been signaling his opposition for months, but White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called Manchin's announcement "a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position" and "a breach of his commitments" to Biden and congressional Democrats.
The House in November had already passed the legislation that puts significant funding toward fighting climate change, paid family leave and childcare, free college, and free health care.
Democrats are hoping Manchin could still vote for a slimmed-down version of the legislation, but it would have to be much smaller - something progressives in his party could find hard to accept.