For the first time since 1970 the senate convened for legislative action between Christmas and New Years. President Obama is also back in Washington as fiscal cliff negotiations remain at a virtual stand still.
Gridlock is what awaits president Obama as he returns to the nation's capitol after cutting short his Hawaiian vacation to resume negotiations.
Failure to reach a deal could be a blow to the economy as it continues to shows signs of a tepid recovery. The labor department has been estimating unemployment claims in the US fell last month to their lowest level in five years.
While the chances of avoiding a fall from the cliff get smaller, some republicans claim that that's what the president wants.
Adding to the nation's pressing economic issues, treasury secretary Timothy Geithner now warning congress the country is on track to reach its borrowing limit on New Year's eve as well.