WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Speaking before his first full Cabinet meeting of 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama said the nation needs an "all hands on deck" approach to fixing the economy.
Obama again called on Congress to pass extended unemployment benefits for Americans who have been out of work the longest, arguing it will benefit not just those people but the economy at large. He also pledged executive action on a number of fronts if Congress fails to address policy priorities he's seeking.
"Overall, the message to my Cabinet ... is that we need all hands on deck to build on the recovery that we're already seeing," Obama said. "The economy is improving, but it could be improving even faster."
The president pledged to work with chief executives to seek commitments they would try to hire more of the long-term unemployed and with university presidents to make higher education more affordable and accessible to people.
Obama briefly addressed reporters' questions after his remarks, saying a review of National Security Agency policy is nearly completed. He did not offer a specific timetable but the president has pledged to address ongoing concerns over the NSA's domestic and international eavesdropping programs.
He is scheduled to speak on the matter Friday.