President Barack Obama touted in his weekly address the transportation and student loan measure he recently signed into law, while Republican Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle urged her congressional colleagues to do more in aid of the struggling economy -- including repeal of Obama's health reform law.
Obama recorded his message while campaigning in Ohio this past week, and pointed to the law which funds transportation projects nationwide, extends lowered federal student loan interest rates and reauthorizes the national flood insurance program.
The bipartisan measure will help the struggling economy, Obama said, by funding infrastructure jobs and relieving some 7.5 million college students of what would have been a loan rate increase.
"Those steps will make a real difference in the lives of millions of Americans," Obama said in his address. "But make no mistake: we've got more to do."
The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2% in June, the Labor Department said Friday, with the economy adding only 80,000 jobs.
Obama repeated his previous calls for Congress to spend money that would have been spent on war efforts instead on "nation-building here at home," plus expand federal education financial aid programs.
"In America, a higher education cannot be a luxury reserved for just a privileged few," Obama said. "It's an economic necessity that every American family should be able to afford."
Buerkle, from New York, said the president's health care law will continue to hold back the economy.
"The health care law, which carries an astronomical price tag and a mess of regulations, taxes and fees, fosters a climate of uncertainty and instability throughout our economy," she said. "According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 74% of small businesses say this law makes it more difficult to hire new employees."
She criticized the individual mandate, which the Supreme Court last month upheld under Congress' taxation power, as "a massive tax" and referenced House Republicans' plans for a vote to repeal the law.
The vote is expected to take place on Wednesday.
"This health care law just flies in the face of what America is supposed to be, and repealing it would revitalize our economy and the values upon which our country was founded," Buerkle said in her address.
Republican lawmakers, she said, will advance other legislation in coming weeks, although the success of any measures will likely be hampered by election-year politics.
The House and Senate are scheduled to convene on Monday afternoon. Obama will hold campaign events in Iowa on Tuesday and in Virginia on Thursday and Friday.