WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama says the economy is getting stronger and, quote, "engines are revving a bit louder."
Obama is praising the July hiring and advances by the U.S. economy.
The president cites new data showing that employers added 209,000 jobs last month - the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000.
But Obama says Congress has blocked steps that would maintain that momentum or even accelerate the recovery.
Obama has been pushing legislation to raise the minimum wage and to broadly increase spending on infrastructure projects.
The unemployment rate ticked up in July to 6.2 percent from 6.1 percent as more Americans started looking for work.
President Barack Obama says House Republicans are trying to pass the most extreme and unworkable version of an immigration bill even though they know the bill isn't going anywhere.
Republicans are pushing legislation that could clear the way for eventual deportation of more than 500,000 immigrants brought here illegally as kids and address the surge of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Obama says Republicans know that legislation won't succeed in the Senate. He says Republicans aren't even trying to solve the problem. He says they're just trying check a box leaving town for their annual August recess.
Obama says while Congress is away, he'll have to make tough choices about immigration challenges himself. He's alluding to executive action he's said he's considering to deal with immigrants in the U.S. illegally.
President Barack Obama says in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, the United States did things that were wrong and crossed the line. He says, quote, "we tortured some folks."
Obama is commenting on a Senate investigation into the CIA's interrogation techniques. A report on that investigation's results is expected to be released in the coming weeks.
Obama says it's important to remember how horrified Americans were after 9/11. But he says it's important to remember the U.S. must live up to its values.
Obama also says he has full confidence in CIA Director John Brennan. The CIA director has apologized to senators after the CIA's inspector general found agency employees improperly searched the computers of Senate staffers conducting the investigation into post-9/11 interrogation and detention practices.
President Barack Obama says the U.S. is limited in what it can do to deter Russia's actions in Ukraine because Russia and President Vladimir Putin are ignoring their long-term interests.
Obama says the U.S. has done everything possible to support Ukraine's government and to deter Russia. But he says short of going to war, there are going to be constraints about what the U.S. can do.
Obama says the U.S. is imposing sufficient costs, and Russia should want to take the needed steps to get economic sanctions lifted.
But Obama says, quote, "people don't always act rationally." He says sometimes people don't act based on their own interests.
Obama says the U.S. must keep working to de-escalate the conflict.
President Barack Obama is calling for the unconditional and immediate release of an Israeli soldier who was apparently captured in a clash with Hamas militants.
Obama says it will be difficult to put back together the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel that collapsed Friday. But he says the U.S. will continue working toward a cease-fire. He says Israel committed to the cease-fire, but the cease-fire was violated.
Obama says it's heartbreaking to see what's happening in Gaza. He says he wants to see everything possible done to ensure Palestinian civilians aren't killed.
Obama says Israel must be able to defend itself, but that irresponsible actions by Hamas have put civilians in danger.
The truce was brokered by the U.S. and U.N. but collapsed less than two hours after it began.