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1-on-1 with commerce secretary Gina Raimondo on COVID-19 test kits, inflation,

Raimondo answers questions WCNC Charlotte viewers wanted to know more about.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — We're almost a year into Joe Biden's presidency. We're still in a pandemic, we're dealing with massive inflation, and programs many in this country have counted on to stay afloat are no more.

WCNC Charlotte spoke with Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to get answers to some of viewers' most asked questions.

First up: will families be able to get COVID-19 testing kits sent to their homes easily?

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"We know that testing matters. We want everybody to have confidence and so, we are actually really confident that we will continue to be able to supply to states to governors enough of these kits so that people can test as frequently as they need to," said Raimondo.

Next up is inflation; it's soaring and the proof is in the prices. Just about everything costs more. What is the administration doing to get this under control?

“What we're doing is we're going industry by industry and figuring out what's going on in each industry and [asking] what can we do?" said Raimondo. "What are all of the levers we can pull? COVID threw such a wrench into supply chains all over the world."

Raimondo notes the United States is not alone with inflation woes.

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"All over Europe, it's the same thing, and so we just have to break down the barriers that are necessary to increase supply to meet demand and prices will go down,” she said.

Then the conversation turned to the Child Tax Credit. The credit was part of the American Rescue Plan signed into law last March. Families received $300 per month for every child under the age of 6 and $250 per month for those up to 17, phased out as families earned more. More than 61 million children benefited, keeping many kids out of poverty. However, the checks have stopped this year. 

When asked about when families can expect the Child Tax Credit to return, Secretary Raimondo said only Congress can answer that question; the credit was just one part of childcare provisions Pres. Biden had originally included in his "Build Back Better" plan, but Republicans and some Democrats weren't on board. 

It's also best to look at these as interconnected problems, according to Raimondo. 

“If Congress were to pass the childcare provisions, labor supply would go up, women could go back into the workforce and prices would come down which is why we're pushing Congress every day to take action," she said.

Contact Carolyn Bruck at cbruck@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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