President Obama urged Congress on Wednesday to "do the right thing and extend a vital lifeline" for those on unemployment.
During a speech in North Carolina, a state that has seen larger than average unemployment, Obama emphasized that those out of work "aren't looking for a handout" or "special treatment."
Obama's remarks come as the Senate failed to extend unemployment insurance for the long-term unemployed.
The president traveled to North Carolina to announce the formation of a new public-privare manufacturing institute. White House aides have acknowledged that Obama plans to increase the number of private-public partnerships in the coming months, as part of an effort to use all the levers of the executive branch.
"Where I can act without Congress, I'm going to do so," Obama said in the speech on Wednesday.
Two weeks before Obama delivers his State of the Union address, he touted a list of accomplishments, including the growing economy, where businesses have created more than 8 million jobs. He also trumpeted a growing energy sector that has produced more oil domestically than abroad.