Congress returned to Washington today without a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" and with only a few hours of actual legislative time scheduled in which to act if an agreement materializes, Reuters reported.
Negotiations involving Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell appeared to offer the last hope for avoiding the across-the-board tax increases and large cuts in federal spending that will be triggered at the start of the new year because of a deficit-reduction law enacted in August 2011.
A Republican Senate leadership aide described discussions between McConnell and Biden as "good talks," saying they lasted late into Sunday evening.
Bloomberg reported that the budget talks were "making progress."
Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury securities fell in apparent anticipation that a deal would be struck today and the Standard & Poor's 500 gained 0.3 percent to 1,406.47 at 10:09 a.m. Eastern time in New York, Bloomberg said.
Meanwhile, some Republicans said progress could be better served by open debate rather than "backroom" discussions.