Washington (CNN) -- Let the endgames begin.
After a Christmas holiday, President Barack Obama was headed back to Washington and the U.S. Senate prepared to reconvene Thursday as the deadline approached for going over the fiscal cliff of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts.
While the Senate resumed work Thursday, the House remained on Christmas break with members warned they could be called back on 48 hours' notice if needed.
Hopes for a so-called grand bargain that would address the nation's chronic federal deficits and debt appeared dashed for now, with four days remaining to reach agreement on a smaller plan that would avoid the harshest effects of the fiscal cliff's tax increases and slashed spending.
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