Fiscal cliff negotiations back on

(NBC) -- We're on fiscal cliff-watch this morning - waiting, like every taxpayer in this country, to see if Washington can prevent a big tax hike on January first.

Negotiations are on, and the House is back today. That means lots more Republicans, with lots of different ideas, may want their say in talks that so far have been behind closed doors.

Fiscal Cliff explainer

Speaker Boehner met privately with the President and his staff, has been in talks with the White House. But when his party members come back to work here today, he may have a problem.

"All these members are going to come back into town and they're gonna want to play a role in these negotiations," says CNBC's Eamon Javers.

The House is back today. That means conservative Republicans who insist the wealthy keep this year's tax breaks could put the squeeze on their own party.

That's the one thing President Cbama refuses to bend on. Otherwise, he says he's flexible.

"I understand people have a lot of different views. I'm willing to compromise a little bit," said The President.

So are some Republicans, pushing to save tax breaks for the middle class now, and deal with the wealthy later.

"Let's recognize reality, take care of as many people as we possibly can," said Rep. Tom Cole, (R) Oklahoma.

Polls show more taxpayers will blame Republicans if taxes go up. That's increasing the odds of a year-end deal.

"It is a better than 50/50 chance. And there's a very good chance that we'd be able to avoid a lot of the fiscal cliff," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen, (D) Maryland.

Behind the scenes, negotiations continue. Republicans say they're waiting for the President to outline more spending cuts.

The three big issues are tax rates, entitlement reform. Medicare, social security, and whether to raise the debt ceiling.

We're about to hit it again, and America may need to borrow more.

Democratsin D.C.think they have the upper hand, and they're keeping in touch with the President. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke with him by phone one Monday on Air Force One.


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