Could the tax fight be nearing an end?
Taxes and unemployment benefits are key issues. What's in dispute is how long the wealthy would continue to see lower taxes, "well we're up against it, look, it's almost Christmas Eve. I don't think anybody thinks that we can leave this thing hanging," said Republican Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.
But there's still a deep divide.
Five Democrats joined Senate Republicans Saturday voting no to extending tax cuts only for the middle class. Republicans insist the rich, the job creators, need lower taxes too. And Democrats are considering it, "I'm offering to go along with an extension for a year," said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon
But Democrats will not move forward without extending unemployment,
"Without unemployment benefits being extended, personally, this is a non-starter," said Senator Dick Durbin.
Senator Orrin Hatch says Republicans are all for extending unemployment benefits, “but we want them to be paid for."
Negotiators have been working for nearly a week. Both sides seem optimistic, but Republicans say the weekend vote - which was never expected to pass - wasted time. "It reminded me of the old movie "Groundhog Day." We just kind of keep doing the same thing over and over and over again," said Senate Minority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Both sides are now looking, hoping, for something different.
Tracie Potts, NBC News