REPORTER: From the battle for Washington - to the battle in Washington. Attention now turns to the "fiscal cliff", $600 billion in spending cuts and tax hikes forced on an already limping economy, if the Republicans and the Democrats do not find common ground by the December 31st deadline. John Lonski of Moody's Capital Markets is not hopeful.
JOHN LONSKI, SENIOR ECONOMIST, MOODY'S CAPITAL MARKETS: "What I am afraid of is that it is going to take a dive, a disruptive dive by equity prices in order to prompt Washington into coming up with a solution that is acceptable both politically and economically."
REPORTER: And the two sides seem as far apart as they did before the elections. President Obama keeps the White House, Democrats keep the Senate and Republicans keep the House. House leader John Boehner says he's willing to accept new revenues, but not necessarily through tax hikes.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER, REPUBLICAN (ENGLISH) SAYING: "What matters is where the increased revenue comes from and what type of reform comes with it. Does the increased revenue come from government taking a larger share of the American people earn through higher tax rates or does it come as a by-product by growing our economy, energized by a simpler, cleaner, fairer tax code?" Meanwhile, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid seemed to hold his ground for the Democrats.
SENATE MAJORITY LEADER HARRY REID, DEMOCRAT: "There was a message sent to us by the American people based on the campaign and that is people with all this money have to contribute a little bit more. And all the exit polling, all the polling we've done, the vast majority of the American people support that, including rich people."
REPORTER: But time and patience are running out, Wall Street tumbling over two percent in the biggest fall since the summer. And Main Street is growing weary as well. Washingtonian Anthony Humphries:
ANTHONY HUMPHRIES, WASHINGTON RESIDENT: "I think it is time for the people on Capitol Hill to start working together. Stop all the stonewalling and all the, you know, you had the thing you was trying to prevent the second term, okay you didn't, so now it is time to come back. Bring America back together and get us moving forward."
REPORTER: In this partisan environment, though, moving forward is easier said than done.
• Stocks fall on post-election worries about fiscal cliff (LA Times)
• Focus Shifts to 'Fiscal Cliff' (Wall Street Journal)
• Fiscal Cliff - cartoons (Cagle Post)