President Obama used his year-end press conference Friday to criticize Congress for leaving Washington for Christmas without reauthorizing extended unemployment benefits, which are set to expire on Dec. 28 for 1.3 million Americans.

Obama warned that those workers were about to “lose a vital economic lifeline at Christmastime.”

“I think we’re better than that,” the president said. “We don’t abandon each other when times are tough.”

Obama suggested that Congress’ “first order of business should be making this right” when lawmakers return in early January. He urged both parties to support legislation introduced by Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., for a three-month extension of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.

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