WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- Saying the U.S. economy "really needs a jolt right now," President Barack Obama called on Congress Thursday to pass his $447 billion jobs bill.
Obama, speaking at a White House news conference, also said he would be "comfortable" with the Senate Democrats' plan for a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires if that's needed to win passage of his jobs bill.
Obama has been traveling the country to make the pitch for the jobs bill ahead of next week's expected Senate vote.
"People really need help right now," the president said. "Our economy really needs a jolt right now. This is not a game. This is not the time for the usual political gridlock."
He said the bill could help prevent another U.S. economic downturn if the European economy worsens.
Obama took aim at Republicans, saying he has "gone out of his way" to work with them, but got "games-playing" and a "preference to score political points, rather than actually get something done."
Speaking of GOP opponents of the jobs plan, he said: "If Congress does nothing … I think the American people will run them out of town because they are frustrated, and they know we need to do something big and something bold."
Independent economists have concluded the jobs plan would grow the economy as much as 2 percent and add 1.9 million workers, Obama said.
"Right now, we've got an emergency, and the American people are living that emergency out every single day, and they have been for a long time," he said.
As a result of the lack of jobs, he said, "Their kids are having to drop out of school because they can't afford student loans, and they're putting off visiting a doctor because when they lost their job they lost their health insurance. They are struggling. And as a consequence, by the way, all of us are struggling -- even those who are well off."
Obama responded to Republicans' calls for tax cuts by saying the jobs bill would "cut taxes for virtually every worker and small business in America."
The bill includes funding to put back to work hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters and police officers laid off because of state budget cuts, Obama said.
He acknowledged the U.S. economy is weaker than it was at the beginning of the year.
"At a time when so many people are having such a hard time, we have to have an approach, we have to take action that is big enough to meet the moment," he said.