The U.S. president is urging Congress to restore what he said is a "vital economic lifeline" for more than one million Americans - the extension of emergency unemployment insurance.
Barack Obama admonished Republicans in Congress for taking their holiday without extending the benefits to their constituents.
Obama said he would sign a three-month extension of unemployment benefits if lawmakers pass it.
Obama said Saturday in his weekly address that denying financial security to people looking for jobs or learning a new skill is "just plain cruel." He said ending the insurance actually slows down the economic recovery that is creating the new jobs people need.
President Obama said Republicans should make it their New Year's resolution to "do the right thing" and restore what he calls this "vital economic security" immediately.
In the Republican address Saturday, Congressman Gregg Harper (of Mississippi) called on the Senate to pass the Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act. The bill, passed by the House of Representatives last month, seeks to boost funding for pediatric research at the National Institutes of Health.