AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - Nearly three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still a number of challenges when it comes to getting the economy back up and running. 

Supply chain issues were a big concern heading into the holiday season, and in 2022, there are still ongoing issues with gas prices and getting items in stores in a timely manner. FOX54 spoke with Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves about inflation and the supply chain and what the Biden Administration is working to do to get prices back to normal.

Graves says throughout the holidays, officials worked with ports around the country to reduce the time that it took to get products off of ships and out to stores and that's something they're going to continue to do in 2022. He also says a big change we'll see this year is the money and resources that will come out of the bipartisan infrastructure law. “It’s going to make critical investments all across the country to make sure that our ports have the resources that they need," he says. "That our highways, our bridges, our infrastructure is brought up to not just the standards of today, but we’re building for the future.” President Biden signed the $1.2T legislation into law back in November. Georgia is expected to receive billions of dollars to help revitalize roads and bridges, improve transit and public transportation, expand broadband in rural communities and more. 

Graves says the Department of Commerce is also focused on semiconductors. "We know that chips go into almost every technological and digital product that we have today," Graves says. "Whether it's your car, your phone, any of your appliances at home. And we know that we've lost our leadership in the world on chips, so we've spent a lot of time trying to get more information for manufacturers and making sure that we're arming them with all of the latest data." 

Later this month, one of the world's largest semiconductor manufacturers in the world, Micron Technology, Inc., will open a new center in Atlanta, creating 500 new jobs in the area. “With the obstacles manufacturers and tech companies across the world are facing, we are glad to see Micron Technology move into the number one state for business where they will have everything they need to succeed and contribute to our thriving economy,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp says. “I look forward to seeing the opportunities this creates in Atlanta and to seeing the innovative solutions that will come from this brand new, world-class technology center.”

Graves says the Biden Administration is also focused on passing the Build Back Better plan, which is currently stalled due to opposition from Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin. President Biden says the Build Back Better Act would reduce what families have to pay for basic necessities, ranging from prescription drugs to healthcare to childcare. 

Graves says one possible reason so many people are quitting their jobs right now is because they can't find or afford childcare. "We know there are millions of Americans right now who are either out of work or don't have the type of job that they could have if they had the childcare that they need," he says. "Build Back Better, in addition to a range of other components like investments for innovation or investments around climate, it's also making sure that millions of Americans are able to get the childcare that they so desperately need." 

As of Friday, no new breakthroughs have taken place in ongoing negotiations for the measure.

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