It's been 42 days since President Obama last met with Congressional leaders about the fiscal cliff. Since then, we've celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas, suffered through the tragedy in Newtown, and watched the days slowly tick by without any semblance of a deal.
Now, with less than 100 hours to go before the country tumbles over the fiscal cliff, House and Senate leaders from both parties are heading back to the White House for one last-ditch attempt to avoid the across-the-board tax increases and deep spending cuts that will kick in at the stroke of midnight on January 1st.
NBC's Michael O'Brien writes, "The parties will enter the meeting seeming as far apart as ever on an agreement to avert the combination of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect on Jan. 1. Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, say they have acted–by passing an extension of all of the expiring Bush tax cuts, an unpalatable proposition to Democrats–and now it’s the Senate’s turn."
For five things to watch at today's White House meeting, go to firstread.msnbc.com.