Clinton-era Treasury secretary and former Obama economic adviser Lawrence Summers last week in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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As he pressed Congress for action Tuesday, President Obama stood before a group of first responders. He made the case that their departments will be hurt if automatic budget cuts go into effect March 1. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption

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Will the lights be on late at the White House for the next few nights, or will talks about the "fiscal cliff" be less than dramatic? Larry Downing /Reuters /Landov hide caption

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President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, at the White House last month. Toby Jorrin/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) leaves after his weekly news briefing at the U.S. Capitol Thursday. Boehner said negotiations with President Barack Obama to are stalled until the White House offers more federal budget spending cuts. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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President Obama, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) behind him, delivering his State of the Union address last January. Saul Loeb/Getty Images hide caption

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