July 19 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden on Monday touted his administration's economic record and sought to ease worries about inflation as he and congressional Democrats seek massive new spending on infrastructure.
In remarks delivered at the White House as Congress this week considers a $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal and a larger $3.5 trillion social spending package, Biden trumpeted the country's "record growth" during the first six months of his administration.
"Our economy's come a long way over the last six months -- we can't slow down now," he said. "We can make this boom we're experiencing today one that will ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to share in it for years to come, and we can show the world that American democracy can deliver for the people."
A separate $3.5 trillion "human infrastructure" package backed by Biden and congressional Democrats is connected to the infrastructure talks, and Republican leaders have sought to tie the increased spending to accelerating inflation.
Consumer prices have risen 5.4% in the past 12 months -- the steepest such increase in more than a decade.
Biden, however, on Monday pushed back on the GOP attacks, noting that Federal Reserve analysts believe the inflation is temporary and is being caused by disconnects between supply and demand amid the rapid recovery.
"I want to be clear -- my administration understands that if we were to ever experience unchecked inflation over the long term, that would pose a real challenge to our economy," he said.
"So while we're confident that isn't what we're seeing today, we're going to remain vigilant about any response that is needed."
Biden said he told Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in a recent meeting that the central bank should "take whatever steps it deems necessary" to help the recovery.