"For us to solve this extraordinary problem that is so many years in the making, it's going to take the cooperation of both parties. It's not going to happen in any other way," the president said.
He reiterated his call for a bipartisan fiscal commission, which recently was blocked by Republicans in the Senate. He said he would create the commission by executive order.
The president said both parties have to be serious in the effort and put politics aside.
"Our fiscal challenge is not subject to interpretation. Math is not partisan. There ought to be a debate about how to close our deficits," he said. "What we can't accept is business as usual, and we can't afford grandstanding at the expense of actually getting something done."
The president said he thinks it is "realistic" to get a package moving quickly in the Senate, and outlined areas where he believes they can get agreement between Democrats and Republicans: the idea of eliminating capital gains for small businesses, and a mechanism to get community banks who are lending to small businesses more capital
Within his bipartisanship-heavy message, the president sent the message to the Senate to not delay the confirmation process of positions in government that have been held up.
"I respect the Senate's role to advise and consent, but for months qualified, non-controversial nominees for critical positions in government, often positions related to our national security, have been held up despite having overwhelming support."
Obama mentioned the hold-up by Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., who until Monday of was holding up more than 70 pending presidential nominees.
"That's not advise and consent; that's delay and obstruct," Obama said. "One senator, as you all are aware, had put a hold on every single nominee that we had put forward, due to a dispute over a couple of earmarks in his state."
The president said that in his meeting today he asked the congressional leadership to put a stop to these holds and set aside partisanship. If not, he warned, he will move without them.
"I made this very clear -- if the Senate does not act to confirm these nominees, I will consider making several recess appointments during the upcoming recess, because we can't afford to allow politics to stand in the way of a well-functioning government," he said.
Obama said his administration is working on "a significant regime of sanctions" aimed at Iran after Teheran rejected an offer to sit down and negotiate the future of its nuclear programs and ambitions.
"We are going to be looking at a variety of ways in which countries indicate to Iran that their approach is unacceptable," the president said of the next steps, adding that the United Nations will be "one aspect of that broader effort."
Obama said the United States has "bent over backwards" to say to Iran that it is willing to engage in a "constructive conversation" about cooperating with the international community.
Obama did not outline a timeline for sanctions. He said the international community is united in its stance against "Iran's misbehavior," but added that it remains to be seen how China will approach this at the U.N. Security Council. The president said he is pleased with how "forward-leaning" the Russians have been on this issue.