NBC - Congress returns next week in a rush to avoid what could be a disaster for the nation: Going over the so-called fiscal cliff.
If a deal isn't reached within the next 53 days automatic cuts to defense and social services will be triggered, along with across-the-board tax increases.
Economists warn that could spark a return to recession.
Both sides are urging President Obama to lead the way to a budget deal that avoids the cliff.
After his victory Tuesday he is sure to demand a tax hike on the wealthy as part of any deal.
"He talked about it in debates, he talked about it in speeches. On the need for balanced deficit reduction that included some new revenues, and he was re-elected in a significant way," points out senior adviser David Axelrod.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner seemed to signal that he understands that point during a Wednesday press conference.
"We're willing to accept some additional revenues via tax reform," Boehner said. "We're willing to accept new revenue under the right conditions."
Still, anti-tax conservatives are jumping in to clarify and warn the speaker not to buckle.
"Boehner's position is exactly what it was a year ago, two years ago, four years ago: don't raise taxes, have pro-economic growth policies. And the government will get more revenue. Not from higher taxes, but from more people working," argues Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform.
In an Associated Press exit poll Tuesday, voters bought both party's arguments, with half saying tax the rich more and half saying shrink government.