President Joe Biden on Monday pressed anew for his multi-trillion dollar infrastructure and social-spending agenda and sought to rebuff critics who blame his policies for leading to higher inflation.

In remarks from the White House, Biden addressed inflation, which some Republicans have sought to tie to the Democratic president.

“Most price increases we’ve seen were expected and expected to be temporary,” the president said, adding the White House remains “vigilant” on the issue.

Read: The cost of living posts biggest surge since 2008 as inflation spreads

Biden also 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 — while stressing that the Fed is independent.

Read: Prices are soaring and Americans aren’t happy. Don’t worry, says the Fed

Biden spoke as House lawmakers rejoined senators in Washington this week, with a full plate of issues to tackle, including infrastructure. Congress also faces calls to raise or suspend the federal borrowing limit by July 31.

Read: Congress returns to face big to-do list — infrastructure, social spending, debt limit

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he wants a procedural vote on Wednesday on a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure plan. He also wants an agreement on that day among Democratic senators on the details of their $3.5 trillion budget package.

U.S. stocks fell sharply Monday, joining a global equity selloff blamed in large part on concerns about the spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Fresh tensions between the U.S. and China added to the negative tenor. The Dow Jones Industrial Average
DJIA,
-2.09%

fell 725 points, while the S&P 500
SPX,
-1.59%

shed 68 points and the Nasdaq
COMP,
-1.06%

dropped 152 points.

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