FILE - This Nov. 14, 2012 file photo shows President Barack Obama gesturing while answering a question during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington. It's entirely possible that lawmakers and the White House will reach a deal to avert an avalanche of tax increases and deep cuts in government programs before a Jan. 1 deadline. To do so, however, they'll have to resolve serious political and fiscal dilemmas that have stymied them time after time, despite repeated vows to overcome them. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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