Back here at home, there is some encouraging news coming out of the first round of negotiations about the looming fiscal cliff crisis. After meeting with president obama, democratic and republican... See More
Back here at home, there is some encouraging news coming out of the first round of negotiations about the looming fiscal cliff crisis. After meeting with president obama, democratic and republican leaders say they were confident about reaching an agreement. About's david kerley has the details from the white house. David, we all remember how badly these negotiations ended in 2011. A lot of people wondering if this time will be any different. Reporter: We'll see, bianna. But you could hear it. There was a big difference. It was the tone. That doesn't mean we have a deal at hand to end the so-called fiscal cliff. It is big. And it affects every one of us. We have some urgent business to do. Reporter: After that big white house meeting, did it feel like someone took their foot off the gas pedal as we head toward a steep cliff? We had a constructive meeting with the president. It was a constructive meeting. Reporter: Sounds like some progress. And we need some because this is what happens january 1st if the ent and congress don't make a deal. First, those so-called bush tax cuts will expire. Which in essence means, a tax increase for every taxpayer. Oh, and that 2% cut in the payroll taxes we've had to pay for the past two year, will also go away. And the number of small tax cuts for businesses and individuals, disappear. As well as unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Now, if that wasn't enough, there's that poison pill, too. Mandatory cuts. 55 billion at the pentagon. Another $55 billion in domestic programs. Everything from the education department to the parks service. Altogether, this is $500 billion, which some say could send the country back into recession. For abc's "this week," martha raddatz asked the house democratic leader if there's room for compromise on that issue. Could you accept a deal that does not include tax increases for the wealthy? No. The president has been very clear that the higher-income people have to pay their fair share. Reporter: While wall street liked the constructive talks, main street businesses want a deal. They can't plan, hire or increase production without knowing what taxes they'll be paying next year. The president is off to a four-day trip to asia. Talks will continue. There's some predictions that something could be worked out before christmas. That may not be the big deal. But at least the framework that pushes a lot of this over into next year.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.