looming fiscal cliff is now just nine days away, is on the minds of many shoppers tonight. And today, as the president and congress began their christmas vacations, we got a rare inside look at the... See More
looming fiscal cliff is now just nine days away, is on the minds of many shoppers tonight. And today, as the president and congress began their christmas vacations, we got a rare inside look at the bare knuckle behind the scenes negotiations and abc's david kerley is at the white house tonight. David, good evening to you. Reporter: Good evening to you, dan. It's already vacation mode for everyone in congress and the guy who usually is in the house behind me. The first family arrived in the dark, but woke up to paradise for the holidays. However, the president may not stay because he didn't get his wish -- a deal with congress. Members streamed out of the capitol last night with no agreement to avert the fiscal cliff. House speaker john boehner is home in ohio tonight. But he left a video behind. Washington has a serious problem tonight. Reporter: Which played in the capitol tonight would echo through the halls. Reporter: The president's solution of raising taxes -- Reporter: The republican leader of the senate took a holiday swipe at democrats. I'm stuck here at washington. Reporter: We're learning more tonight about how the negotiations fell apart. The wall street journal quoting unnamed sources said that when the speaker offered $800 billion in revenue by limiting deductions the speaker asked, what do I get? The president reportedly responded, you get nothing, i get that for free. Unable to agree on a big deal, on taxes and entitlements, the president is now hoping to get a small deal, extend middle-class tax rates and agree to a framework for a big deal. That's an achievable goal, that can get done in ten days. Reporter: Can it? Consider the speaker's other words which are really echoing about making a deal. How we get there, god only knows. The president wasted no time getting into vacation mode. He went golfing today in hawaii. White house officials told me that staff from both sides are talking through e-mails and phone calls and will through the next couple of days. We expect congress to come back on thursday. No word, dan, on when the president comes back. As the days to the cliff continue to tick off. The stake so high for so many people.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.