When congressional leaders gathered with President Obama on Friday, they heard a limited proposal aimed at avoiding the tax increases and deep spending cuts that will happen next week.

"I do have faith that there will be some kind of resolution hopefully soon, but it does make me nervous for sure," said Alex Shuck.

So far, lawmakers and White House officials are holding out slim hope for a deal.  Folks in our area said the procrastination makes them angry.

"Taking so long to make a decision is irresponsible and kind of risky, especially if it affects our nation's credit rating or something like that," said Shuck.

"It seems like not much has been going on between Democrats and Republicans. You know, everybody's trying to hold back, but we're going to rush to the end," added Mark Decrosta.  "Will it be the right things for the country?"

Friday's meeting is the first one since November. But not everyone in our area has been keeping a close eye on the political back and forth.

"It's all so confusing," explained Shawna Halm.  "And just when you get a grasp on it, it all changes anyway."

"I don't care much about it. I'm sure they'll work it out even if they have to work it out through January," said Charlie Durepo.  "I was more concerned about December 21."

Economists warn a continued stalemate could cause another recession.

"It's a big deal not only because it affects our nation but also because lawmakers have taken so long to decide what the deal's going to be," explained Shuck.

Concern over failure to reach a budget deal before the year-end deadline is also hitting the economy.  For the fifth straight day, stocks have edged lower.