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(NECN/NBC News: Danielle Leigh, Washington) - Efforts to save the average American from paying roughly $2,000 more in taxes a year- is turning into a bruising battle.
"We're nowhere, period. We're nowhere," House Speaker John Boehner (R) said on "FOX News Sunday."
Democrats are accusing Republicans of "political theater".
Last week, the president proposed more than $1 trillion in tax increases and $600 billion in budget cuts over the next ten years.
Republicans rejected it.
"That offer -- they must think John Boehner is Santa Claus, because that is a Christmas wish list, not a real proposal," Rep. Tom Cole (R) of Oklahoma said on "ABC This Week."
Now, the president's lead negotiator says this week - it's Republicans turn to counter-offer.
"If they'd like to go beyond that or do it differently, they need to tell us what they propose," Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said on "NBC Meet the Press".
House Speaker John Boehner says he's already offered dozens of alternatives.
"You can cap deductions at a percent of income. It'd be one way to get there. You can eliminate certain deductions for those -- the wealthiest in our country," House Speaker Boehner said.
Amidst signs of a stalemate, there are also tones of compromise.
"I think we understand that this is about our country first," Sen. Claire McCaskill (D) of Missouri said on "NBC Meet the Press."
"And I think cooler heads will prevail. I think we will resolve this," Sen. Bob Corker (R) of Tennessee said.
A growing number of lawmakers say it's time put politics aside.
While there is growing concern may go over the so-called "fiscal cliff", Congress has also passed last minute decisions- for instance, last year's payroll tax holiday has been passed the past three years in a row.