Washington (CNN) - After weeks of wrangling over increasing the federal debt ceiling, President Barack Obama and Republican lawmakers returned their focus to the U.S. job crisis in their weekly addresses Saturday, each calling on the other to take specific steps to get more Americans back to work.
"Our urgent mission has to be getting this economy growing faster and creating jobs," Obama said in his address. "That’s what’s on people’s minds; that’s what matters to families in this country."
Obama called on Congress, which has left Washington for its August recess, to take measures he said would stimulate job growth.
"We need Democrats and Republicans to work together to help grow this economy," Obama said. "We’ve got to put politics aside to get some things done. That’s what the American people expect of us. And there are a number of steps that Congress can take right away, when they return in September."
Obama's remarks come a day after a better-than-expected July jobs report, which showed 117,000 jobs were created last month. The American unemployment rate improved slightly to 9.1%, from 9.2% in June. Economists estimate that 150,000 jobs need to be created each month to keep pace with population growth.
Obama's remarks were released Saturday, but recorded before the ratings agency Standard and Poor's announced it was downgrading America's long-term debt.
In the Republican address, Rep. Michael Grimm (R, New York) called on the president to change course in his job-creation efforts.
"The latest jobs report shows that President Obama’s ‘stimulus’-driven policies are simply not working," Grimm said. "The overspending, overtaxing, and overregulating coming out of Washington is creating uncertainty and holding our job creators back. Every day, I hear the frustration in the voices of my neighbors and constituents who ask ‘where are the jobs?’ and this reminds me, this is not the country we grew up in. The good news is that we can, and will, get it back … if we change course."
Grimm offered a few examples of job creation techniques, including tax reform and energy production.
"Republicans are focused on implementing a strong roadmap for job creation that reduces burdensome regulations, calls for a simpler and fairer tax code, and expands American energy production," Grimm said. "These are the kinds of common-sense solutions that would get government out of the way and give our job creators the certainty they need to invest, plan and create jobs.
Grimm called on Obama and congressional Democrats to embrace these proposals, some of which have passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
For his part, Obama offered a separate list of job-creating proposals, including eliminating bureaucratic hassles for entrepreneurs, passing new sets of trade deals with other countries and giving loans to companies that employ construction workers.
He also mentioned a new program, outlined earlier this week, that would reward firms for hiring veterans.