(CNN) – Congressional priorities were the topic of the presidential and Republican weekly video and radio addresses this week as Republicans urged a vote on tax cuts and the president focused on approval of the New START treaty.
"A failure to ratify New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) would be a dangerous gamble with America's national security," President Barack Obama said Saturday. "There is enough gridlock, enough bickering. If there is one issue that should unite us – as Republicans and Democrats – it should be our national security."
The treaty is a nuclear arms reduction agreement between Russia and the United States that allows inspectors on the ground in both countries to monitor nuclear activity. Although it has been signed by the leaders of both nations, Congress has failed to ratify the accord. The first such treaty was signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, and Obama referenced the bipartisan history of the agreement throughout his address, calling on Congress to take action.
"Without ratification, we risk undoing decades of American leadership on nuclear security, and decades of bipartisanship on the issue," Obama said.
Obama has made it clear he wants the treaty through Congress before the end of the year, but many Senate Republicans have said START should be one of the first priorities of the next Congress.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky used the GOP weekly address to tackle job creation and to criticize Democratic priorities.
He said preventing a tax increase for Americans should take precedence over Democrats' priorities, which he said include immigration, a repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy, a reorganization of the FDA and adding environmental regulations.
"It's time Congress got its priorities straight," McConnell said Saturday. "It's time to set aside political votes and government spending that the administration and Democratic leaders have put above all other priorities for two years."
The Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire at the end of this year, and McConnell said Congress owes it to the American people to "work together to get this done."
Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have decided to move ahead with votes after Thanksgiving to extend the tax cuts and allow an up-or-down vote from members of Congress.