Republicans and Democrats remain far from a deal, with just 21 days before america faces the fiscal cliff, but there are small signs of progress.
President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, met Sunday for the first time in nearly a month.
There is also new talk of compromise from leaders on both political parties.
Some GOP lawmakers now say they're open to raising taxes on high income earners, if Democrats consider holding the top rate below 39.6 percent.
Meanwhile, one leading Democrat is putting entitlements on the table as well.
In an NBC News interview, Illinois Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin discussed Medicare.
"I do believe there should be means testing, and those of us with higher income in retirement should pay more. that could be part of the solution," Durbin said.
Some lawmakers believe a deal is needed this week if there is going to be congressional approval by the end of the year.