FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2011, file photo members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction hold a public hearing with Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington. The year-end spending on the table after three failed high-profile efforts at big deficit deals shows how hard it is to stem the government's flow of red ink. Lawmakers are poised to renew a Social Security tax cut, and to continue unemployment benefits to people out of work for more than half a year. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)