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Jan. 20, 2022, 8:42 a.m. EST

Biden sees Build Back Better getting broken up so parts can pass, ‘disaster’ for Russia if it invades Ukraine

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By Victor Reklaitis

President Joe Biden on Wednesday said he expected his social-spending and climate package probably will get broken up in order to have parts of it passed by Congress — and offered warnings for Russia amid fears of an invasion of neighboring Ukraine.

“I think we can break the package up, get as much as we can now and come back and fight for the rest,” Biden told reporters during a news conference that came at the one-year mark of his presidency.

He said there is support for more than $500 billion in his Build Back Better plan aimed at energy /zigman2/quotes/206420077/composite XLE -0.55% and environmental issues. He added that a key moderate Democratic senator, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, supported early education programs for 3- and 4-year-olds.

Related: Biden ‘will still be looking’ to make parts of Build Back Better happen, says top White House economist

On Russia, Biden threatened President Vladimir Putin with sanctions “never seen” if Russia moves on Ukraine.

“It is going to be a disaster for Russia if they further invade Ukraine,” Biden said.

The news conference comes as Biden faces declining approval ratings , with critics finding fault with how the 46th president has dealt with inflation, the COVID-19 pandemic, the American withdrawal from Afghanistan and other issues.

Read more: What has Biden done wrong in his first year? Done well? Analysts assess inflation, COVID response and more

Biden defended his performance, despite high inflation and a lack of progress for his Build Back Better plan, as well as other legislative setbacks.

“I didn’t over promise,” he said. “I have probably outperformed what anybody thought would happen.”

Biden also hit Republicans over what he said was obstruction by them, saying he didn’t anticipate there would be such a “stalwart effort” by the GOP to prevent him from getting anything done. “Name me one thing they’re for,” he said.

In addition, the president said there will be improvements as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“Some people may call what’s happening now a new normal. I call it a job not yet finished. It will get better,” he told reporters.

U.S. stocks /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.13% /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.16% closed lower Wednesday, leaving the S&P 500’s /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.11% gain over the past 12 months at 19%.

This report was first published on Jan. 19, 2022.

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