With just five days left to broker a deal to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff, President Obama will leave his family behind in Hawaii (where they've been spending the Christmas vacation) to get back to Washington on Wednesday and return to work.
It's unclear when House Republicans will come back to join him in those negotiations. The Senate is due back Thursday for votes, but the House has yet to receive the 48-hour warning to come back to Washington.
Americans are losing confidence in the likelihood of a deal to avoid the cliff, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday morning. Ten days ago only 40% thought Congress would fail to make a deal. Today that's up to 48%.
Speaker Boehner's ability to negotiate a deal has been an open question ever since he was forced to withdraw a vote on his "plan B" proposal when he discovered he did not have enough votes in his own party to pass it. Before he left for Hawaii, President Obama said he hoped the Christmas break would give his colleagues in Washington an opportunity to "cool off" and prepare to put together a new deal.