“My message to Congress is, get to work,” Obama said in his weekly address.
The president admitted the economy was not creating jobs “fast enough,” citing “some serious headwinds” that were continuing to stall growth, such as high gas prices and the European debt crisis.
The economy added 69,000 jobs last month, far below expectations of 150,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent, the Labor Department announced Friday.
The president, however, was optimistic, saying, “We do have better days ahead.”
“From the moment we first took action to prevent another depression, we knew the road to recovery wouldn’t be easy. We knew it would take time, that there would be ups and downs along the way. But we also knew that if we were willing to act wisely, and boldly, and together; if we were willing to keep at it, and never quit, we would come back stronger,” he said.
To turn things around, the president is asking lawmakers to act on the five items on his legislative to-do list for Congress, arguing “there are plenty of steps we can take right now to help create jobs and grow this economy.” Obama’s wish list includes a series of economic initiatives he has been pushing for months but that have gained little traction on Capitol Hill.
“It’s not lost on anyone, least of all me, that this is an election year,” Obama said. “But we’ve got responsibilities that are bigger than an election. We’ve got responsibilities to you. With so many people struggling to get by, now is not the time to play politics. Now is not the time for Congress to sit on its hands. The American people expect their leaders to work hard, no matter what year it is. That’s what I intend to do. And I expect Democrats and Republicans to join me.”
The president taped his remarks at the Honeywell manufacturing facility in Golden Valley, Minn., where he delivered similar comments on the economy Friday.