KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Lawmakers return this week to Washington D.C. facing a December 31 deadline to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff".
Local congressmen Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri, and Kevin Yoder, a Republican from Kansas, both agree on one idea: compromise.
Without it, tax increases and spending cuts will affect every single American beginning in January.
If lawmakers do nothing, the nation's economy could begin to fall off the "fiscal cliff."
Rep. Cleaver gave a dire warning.
"It's the beginning of what would be devastating to our U.S. economy," Cleaver said.
For months, efforts to avoid more than a half trillion dollars in tax increases and $100 billion in spending cuts have failed.
Both sides, more polarized than ever, do agree that compromise is in order.
Rep. Yoder, in Kansas City to talk to the media before returning to Washington D.C. said, "We have no other option but to find a solution by working together."
"The government has to work and the only way it's going to work - as it has in the past - is with compromise,"
Republicans have been unwilling to cut taxes and Democrats have refused to cut spending to entitlements, Social Security and Medicare -- until now.
"We've got to do something about Medicare. It's the elephant in the room. I think everyone needs to admit that," Cleaver said.
Democrats still want to raise taxes on the wealthy.
But Republican leaders who once refused to raise taxes on anyone - say they now may compromise.
The new promises on both sides come with some contingencies.
Republicans, like Yoder, would still rather raise revenue by capping tax deductions or closing loopholes.
"Sending billions more from Kansas City to Washington D.C.," Rep. Yoder explained, "regardless of what economic group it comes from won't have an effect of creating more jobs."
Democrats, like Cleaver, still want to keep some entitlement programs out of the negotiation.
"Some of the entitlements we have to exclude like Social Security because it is not a problem," Cleaver said.
Both sides agree some action has to be taken.
The Tax Policy Center estimates if nothing is done the average American family will see an increase of about $2000 a year in taxes.
The Congressional Budget Office also projected, if nothing is done, the government would see a $448 billion savings next year alone, but that savings would come at the cost of slower growth and higher unemployment and the risk of a longer recession.
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