— If lawmakers reach Dec. 31 without a deal, some economists worry that the financial markets might swoon.
— The current Congress is in session only through noon Eastern time on Jan. 3. After that, a newly elected Congress with 13 new senators and 82 new House members would inherit the problem.
Associated Press writers Jim Kuhnhenn, Alan Fram and Andrew Taylor and Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.
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