White House says Joe Biden will win on Build Back Better as bill stumbles into 2022

White House says Joe Biden will win on Build Back Better as bill stumbles into 2022

President Biden will be victorious in getting his social welfare bill across the finish line, the White House said Friday despite signs the massive legislation will stumble into the new year without final passage.

Press secretary Jen Psaki said Mr. Biden has been in tough legislative battles before, including the fight to pass the 2010 Obamacare law.

“He is somebody who is committed to pressing forward through ups and downs, and that’s where we are right now,” Ms. Psaki told reporters as they traveled with Mr. Biden to South Carolina.

Mr. Biden late Thursday vowed to press forward on his $1.75 trillion bill, refusing to bow to the political reality of Democratic divisions.

In a statement, the White House said it would spend the rest of the year pushing forward on the bill, which is called the Build Back Better Act and made it through the House but faces a tough time in the evenly divided Senate, which is heading home for the holidays without acting.

Sen. Joe Manchin III, a West Virginia Democrat and key swing vote for the White House’s legislative agenda, has held up passage of the bill. Mr. Manchin has raised concerns about the bill relying on budgetary gimmicks that will only exacerbate inflation.

Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden considers the senator “a friend” and said recent talks were “candid and direct.”

“It doesn’t mean they always agree on everything, but that is not the bar that the president sets for his friendships or relationships with members of Congress,” she said. “The president is also someone who has been through many legislative battles, many legislative fights — many that have had ups and downs but ultimately resulted in victory.”

The Senate parliamentarian also rejected Democrats’ attempts to stick a legalization program for illegal immigrants into legislation, which would pass through a budget mechanism known as reconciliation that avoids a GOP filibuster.

“The decision by the parliamentarian is deeply disappointing and relegates millions to an uncertain and frightening future,” Ms. Psaki said.

She said Democrats disagree with the decision and will seek a way to offer legal status to seasonal workers, “Dreamers” who came to the U.S. illegally as children and people who have “temporary protected status” after fleeing bad situations at home.

• Haris Alic contributed to this report.