Republican and Democrats alike say they are doing what the voters back home want.
Neither side has a clear advantage in public opinion. In an Associated Press-GfK poll, 43 percent said they trust the Democrats more to manage the federal budget deficit and 40 percent preferred the Republicans. There's a similar split on who's more trusted with taxes.
About half of Americans support higher taxes for the wealthy, the poll says, and about 10 percent want tax increases all around. Still, almost half say cutting government services, not raising taxes, should be the main focus of lawmakers as they try to balance the budget.
When asked about specific budget cuts being discussed in Washington, few Americans express support for them.
THE COUNTDOWN: Time for deal-making is short, thanks to the holiday and congressional calendars. Some key dates for averting the fiscal cliff:
— Lawmakers aren't expected to return to the Capitol until after Christmas, leaving less than a week to vote on a compromise before year's end.
— Obama and his family also were leaving town for a Christmas vacation in Hawaii. The president said because the fiscal cliff was still unresolved, he would return to Washington next week.
— If lawmakers reach Dec. 31 without a deal, some economists worry that the financial markets might swoon.
— The current Congress is in session only through noon Eastern time on Jan. 3. After that, a newly elected Congress with 13 new senators and 82 new House members would inherit the problem.
- Boy Scouts open membership to all boys,...
- Defending the Faith: A case for the...
- Gallup poll shows shift in views on morality...
- One third of millenials regret going to college
- Stories behind viral Oklahoma tragedy photos...
- Why $1 billion doesn't mean what it used to...
- Wash. I-5 bridge collapse caused by oversize...
- Facts about the Boy Scouts of America
- Defending the Faith: A case for the... 57
- Boy Scouts open membership to all boys,... 42
- Journalists criticize Obama... 38
- IRS official Lerner invokes Fifth... 22
- Former IRS chief to Congress: Can't say... 21
- More Obama aides knew IRS targeted... 19
- Supreme Court to weigh in on... 17
- US companies challenging contraception... 16