President Obama will present his strategy for creating new jobs before a joint session of Congress, Thursday evening.
The plan will include extending the payroll tax cut and new road and bridge projects.
Obama told a Labor Day rally of Detroit AFL-CIO union workers Monday there are numerous roads and bridges that need rebuilding in the U.S., and more than 1 million unemployed construction workers who are available to build them.
The president said the plan has bipartisan ideas.
Obama said that with widespread suffering, "the time for Washington games is over" and lawmakers must move quickly to create jobs.
"But we're not going wait for them," he said at an annual event sponsored by the Metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO.
"We're going to see if we've got some straight shooters in Congress," he said. "We're going to see if congressional Republicans will put country before party."
Obama also said lawmakers should extend the temporary reduction in the payroll tax that workers pay, a cut that will otherwise expire on Jan. 1.
Many Republicans have opposed renewing the payroll tax cut, saying it would increase federal red ink and do little to create jobs.
"You say you're the party of tax cuts," Obama said of the GOP argument. "Well, then prove you'll fight just as hard for tax cuts for middle class families as you do oil companies and the most affluent Americans. Show us what you've got."
Right now, Americans don't trust either party, according to a new poll.
An ABC News-Washington Post poll found that 77 percent of Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Public approval of Obama's handling of the economy also hit a new low of 26 percent in a recent Gallup survey.