Most lawmakers in the Congress and President Obama are all talking a good game right now about compromise on the fiscal cliff, but soon enough, they will be tested on just how far they will go to reach a tax and budget agreement.
"I recognize that we're going to have to compromise," the President said at his first news conference since June.
"And as I said on Election Night, compromise is hard, and not everybody gets 100 percent of what they want and not everybody is going to be perfectly happy," Mr. Obama added.
A group of Democratic Senators is urging the President not to give up too much in the fiscal cliff talks, especially on the idea of raising taxes.
"Any deal must include significant revenues," reads a letter being circulated by liberal Democrats.
The idea of raising a lot in new taxes goes nowhere with many Republicans, who want to see big budget cuts; they publicly warned GOP leaders not to sign off on tax cuts without locking in spending reductions.
"You can't do the Lucy-Charlie Brown the football again, raise taxes now, and promise we will cut later," said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a leader of more conservative Republicans in the House.
"That is not going to fly with any of us," Jordan added.
There has been some talk - in both parties - about going over the fiscal cliff and then fixing things early next year.
"I would - with all due respect - say, that's pretty stupid," said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), who implored both sides to reach a deal soon.
"The American people want to be treated right," Isakson said on the Senate floor.
"Let's do something; let's face the music," Isakson added, acknowledging that both sides will have to give on taxes, spending, entitlements and more.
But there's the rub - everyone has something they don't want to be hit very hard; once you start throwing those items off the table, there isn't much left.
The year ends in six and a half weeks. Congress will leave town on Thursday, and not return until the week of November 26.
By then, lawmakers and the White House will be down to five weeks.
Tick, tick, tick.
I've been at work on Christmas Eve too many times in recent years; the betting up here in the Press Gallery is that we will be working again that day.