Washington (CNN) – This year will be a year of change, according to President Obama and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Mississippi.
In separate weekly addresses, both promised action on what they consider the most important issues the country faces - the economy and Obamacare, respectively.
The president began by highlighting Friday's job report, with 2.2 million jobs added in 2013 and the lowest unemployment rate in years. Many economists saw the report as disappointing, however, because only 74,000 new jobs were added in December; the expectations were around 193,000.
"Across our broader economy, there are signs of progress," said Obama, emphasizing growth in the housing and manufacturing sectors, booms in the auto, tech and energy industries, deficits that have been halved, and healthcare costs growing at their lowest rate in years - "thanks in part to the reforms in the Affordable Care Act," he said.
But Obama pushed that more work was left to be done, including the extension of unemployment insurance.
"This vital economic lifeline helps people support their families while they look for a new job, and it demands responsibility in return by requiring that they prove they're actively looking for work. But Republicans in Congress just let that lifeline expire for 1.3 million Americans," he said, adding that while the Senate has moved toward passing benefits, "Congress needs to finish the job right away."
Unemployment insurance was just the first item on his agenda, as well. He vowed to expand high-tech manufacturing, help provide workers the necessary skills for those jobs, and get more of the long-term unemployed back to work.
And as he looked forward to his State of the Union address at the end of the month, he said he would "mobilize the country around the national mission of making sure our economy offers everyone who works hard a fair shot at opportunity and success."
But Cochran made clear there is something standing in the way of that kind of progress: Obamacare.
"Unfortunately as this year begins, many people are worried about how the so-called Affordable Care Act - also known as ‘Obamacare’ - is affecting both their health and personal finances," he said in the GOP's weekly address.
“Republicans in the Senate think we should repeal or defund the program because of its cost and complexity," he added, arguing that the law was "not living up to the promises made by its supporters."
In particular, he focused on the 5 million Americans who were "kicked out of the health plans that they liked and were promised they could keep," as well as his constituents who are finding that plans in the new Obamacare market are too expensive, or who have been denied access to their usual doctors.
“In the spirit of the new year, we should resolve to help make our health care system more user-friendly and affordable," and to do that, he said, Congress needs to repeal the Affordable Care Act and pass "common sense, bipartisan legislation that will work better for all Americans, without spending billions of taxpayer dollars."
In 2013, the House voted dozens of times to defund Obamacare but was stopped by the Senate, and the fight over the president's signature legislation drew the country to a government shutdown and the brink of the debt ceiling.