In the wake of a weak U.S. jobs report, U.S. President Barack Obama is stepping up the pressure on Congress to help put more Americans back to work.
In his weekly address Saturday, President Obama spoke from a manufacturing plant in the northern state of Minnesota about steps he said the nation's leaders can take right now to help create jobs and grow the economy.
He said Congress should "get to work" to pass sections of his job bill that would put teachers, firefighters, police officers and construction workers back on the job. He said that with so many people struggling, now is not the time for Congress to - in his words - "sit on its hands" and play politics.
The president's remarks echo appeals he made in a speech Friday at the Minnesota plant, where he announced a new initiative to make it easier for companies to hire skilled military veterans and called on Congress to pass legislation creating a Veterans Job Corps.
Obama's proposals also include new mortgage refinancing opportunities for homeowners, tax breaks for small business owners, tax credits for clean energy manufacturers and ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
In the Republican address, Senator John Cornyn of Texas blamed President Obama and his party's leadership for not taking steps to avoid a tax increase on American workers on January 1. Senator Cornyn says a tax increase would hurt the economic recovery because employers will be reluctant to hire new workers and families will have less income to use.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.