(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden said the U.S. is experiencing “near-term inflation” as the economy recovers from the pandemic, but that it’s unlikely prices will continue spiraling higher.

“It’s rational, when you think about it. The cost of an automobile is kind of back to what it was before the pandemic,” Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting held in Cincinnati. But he said that most economists believe that “it’s highly unlikely that it’s going to be long-term inflation that’s going to get out of hand.”

“There will be near-term inflation,” he said, because the economy “is now trying to be picked back up.”

Inflation has become a political liability for the White House in recent weeks. The U.S. experienced the largest surge in consumer prices in more than 12 years last month, with a Labor Department gauge rising 5.4% compared to one year ago.

Auto prices have driven much of the pickup in overall inflation and are in fact considerably higher than they were before the pandemic.

“Inflation is driving the cost of everything through the roof,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said at a news conference Wednesday opposing Democratic calls for Biden’s long-term social spending plan.

A significant portion of the recent inflation has been tied to areas of the economy experiencing parts shortages or surging demand stemming from reopening, including cars, hospitality and lumber -- a point Biden has stressed.

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