But Georgia's Republican senators say they are still optimistic that the power players will avert steep spending cuts and across-the-board tax hikes that go into effect if no deal is reached by the new year.
Their reasoning: It's what Congress always does.
Sen. Johnny Isakson told The Brunswick News he is "confident that Congress and the president will agree to extend the Bush tax cuts for middle class families."
Isakson's colleague, Saxby Chambliss, said, "Congress usually acts when we have our backs up against a wall. Think that's going to force everyone to come to the table."