FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2011, file photo Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Director Douglas Elmendorf prepares to testify on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. The spending on the table at years-end 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 Applewhit, File)