Once again Washington is facing daunting deadlines.
By the end of next month, the U.S. Treasury will lose the power to borrow more money to pay America's bills, while every federal program will face automatic spending cuts on March 1.
If the Treasury runs out of options to cover the nation's debts, it could begin defaulting on government loans unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.
Some fear that such a default would trigger a global recession.
Despite this urgency, lawmakers in Washington appear worlds apart on what should be done next to solve the fiscal crisis.
"There are still deductions, credits, special treatments under the tax code, which ought to be looked at very carefully," Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., isn't ruling out pushing for upper income earners to pay more, despite the fiscal cliff deal that raised their taxes.
"I'm saying that's not off the table," she said.
But Republicans say the tax debate is over.
"Oh yeah, the tax, the revenue, the tax issue is finished, over, completed. That's behind us," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, said.
"Now the questions is - what are we going to do about the biggest problem confronting our country and our future? And that's our spending addiction. It's time to confront it," he said.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, agreed.
"Mitch McConnell is exactly right," Jordan said. "If they're going to go after -- they just got revenue. We've got to cut spending. We've got $16 trillion debt. The credit card is maxed out. We've got to cut spending."
Lawmakers expect debt talks will consume Congress in the coming weeks, while other fights loom over the president's new cabinet picks.