Fiscal Cliff Countdown: Missing the Deadline

Economic effects if Congress cannot vote quickly.
2:10 | 12/31/12

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Transcript for Fiscal Cliff Countdown: Missing the Deadline
Tonight, no deal. Lawmakers are taking this country over the fiscal cliff. As one senator said today, something has gone terribly wrong when the biggest threat to our economy is our congress. Let's get right to abc's chief white house correspondent jon karl covering this every step of the way. Jon, many angry americans watching all of this. Reporter: Well, david, they just blew it. It is now clear that congress will fail to pass by midnight tonight something to prevent virtually everybody's taxes from going up. They have known for more than a year that tonight was the deadline and they just blew it. The deadline to prevent that massive $600 billion combination of tax hikes and spending cuts will be missed. But the scramble continues. To try to get a deal done and passed over the next day or two, that would put the tax cuts, at least, back in place retro actively. And today, they sure seemed close to a deal. I can report that we've reached an agreement on all of the tax tsh -- the tax issue. Reporter: And even though the deal was not finalized, the president seemed to take a victory lap today at the white house. Keep in mind that just last month republicans in congress said they would never agree to raise tax rates on the wealthiest americans. Obviously, the agreement that's currently discussed would raise those rates and raise them permanently. Reporter: It was a campaign-style event. I'm going to be president for the next four years, I hope. So -- Reporter: That alienated the very people he needs to get any deal passed. Very disappointed to hear what the president just had to say in front of a pep rally. He comes out and calls people together and has a group standing behind him, laughs and jokes and ridicules republicans, what is -- why? Reporter: If the deal finalized, and if passes congress, two big ifs, it would extend tax cuts for all workers under $400,000, prevent a big hike on estates under $5 million and extend unemployment benefits set to expire tomorrow for some 2 million people. So, the scramble continues tonight. Congressional leaders trying to get to a deal that would pass both the house and the senate sometime over the next 24 hours or so, david.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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