Fiscal Cliff Countdown: Behind the Scenes

Looming economic downfall three days away, Congress scrambles in last minute meetings.
3:40 | 12/29/12

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Transcript for Fiscal Cliff Countdown: Behind the Scenes
angering americans across the country. This evening, three days to go before taxes go up for all americans. Will the president's pressure on congress bring in a deal? Let's bring in jon karl on this. Are they any closer? A little closer, certainly not there yet. Tonight, congressional leaders are making one last-ditch effort to get to a mini deal. With just three days left, finally a glimmer of hope. I'm hopeful and optimistic. Whatever we come up with it's going to be imperfect. Some people aren't going to a like it. Reporter: Right now, it's all in the hands of the two senate leaders. Democratic harry reid and REPUBLICAN mitch McConnell. They're working on a mini-deal that would prevent a tax increase for roughly 98% of american workers. Extend unemployment benefits that are set to expire for some 2 million people. What took so long? The american people are watching what we do here. Obviously, their patience is already thin. This is deja vu all over again. Reporter: The 11th-hour effort to get a deal comes after the president met with the congressional leaders at the His first such meeting in six weeks. EVEN if McConnell and reid come to an agreement, there's no certainty it will pass before the end of the year. The agreement represents what the president says is the bare minimums. Extending tax cuts while doing nothing to curb spending or address the long-term deficit crisis. If they fail to pass a mini-deal, virtually everyone's income taxes will go up. Even if the income taxes are extended virtually all workers are due to see less in their paychecks, starting in january, where the temporary 2% payroll tax cut is set to expire. Don't assume there will be a mini-deal, a source close to the meetings going on tonight, the prospects are quote not too promising they'll get to a bipartisan agreement to prevent everyone's taxes from going up. David? Our chief white house correspondent jon karl. Of course, this waiting game is already AFFECTING AMERICANS' 401(k)s. The stock market, five straight losses. Let's bring in bianna golodryga. If these lawmakers thought that waiting to the 11th hour wouldn't have an effect, look no further than the stock market. Take a look at what happened just the few days. The dow lost 158 points. For the week, down 252 points. David, it's real money. THE AVERAGE 401(k) LOST 3,000, $4,000. December is traditionally a good month for the markets. And for home sales. Up 10% from this time last year. Here's what the president had to say about that. America wonders why it is that, in this town for some reason, you can't get stuff done in an organized timetable. Why everything has to wait until the last minute. Well, we're now at the last minute. The economy is growing. The housing market is recovering. But that could be impacted if folks are seeing smaller paychecks. So, bianna, what about that momentum in the housing market, is that at risk? It is. Home places have gone up, too. Take a look at a battered state like arizona, home prices went up 21%. All of that is at play right now if washington doesn't come up with a solution.

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

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