Fiscal Cliff Warning: Conservatives Caution on Benefit Cuts

Lawmakers receive letter warning of challenges that will arise from unsatisfactory financial deal.
1:56 | 12/05/12

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Transcript for Fiscal Cliff Warning: Conservatives Caution on Benefit Cuts
Now, we turn to the news that a lot of ordinary americans have been put on notice, as we approach that fiscal cliff, just 27 days away. People already having trouble finding a job are receiving a letter of warning about something to happen to them if congress can't make a deal. And abc's jonathan karl has that. Reporter: Melinda vega has been put on notice. If congress and the president don't get their act together, her unemployment checks will stop immediately at the end of the year. We're dependent on that money to pay our bills. Reporter: She's been without a job for a year. Her $450 a week unemployment check, her lifeline. We won't be able to pay some of our bills and, I mean, you know, that's for christmas and things of that nature, probably off the table. Reporter: She's not alone. Without a deal, unemployment compensation will end for more than 2 million people who've been out of work for more than 26 weeks. Many of the unemployed started receiving the news this week from pre-recorded phone calls, like this one in washington state. Emergency unemployment compensation shuts off at the end of december unless congress votes to extend the program. Reporter: And, of course, going off the so-called fiscal cliff means a tax hike for just about everybody who does have a job. But today, treasury secretary timothy geithner said the president is absolutely willing to go off the cliff unless republicans agree to raise tax rates. There's no prospect for an agreement that doesn't involve those rates going up on the top 2% of the wealthiest americans. Reporter: And on that, no progress. Where are the specifics? Nothing is going on. Reporter: There have been no rey talks between the white house and republicans for a week. But late today, diane, one possible sign of progress. The president and the speaker of the house spoke via telephone. Neither side would give any details about what was said, but the stock market closed higher today with traders, at least, apparently optimistic that a deal will be reached.

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

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