House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says a deal must be reached "in the next couple of days or the very beginning of next week" to avoid the fiscal cliff of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts.
The California Democrat criticized Republican House leaders for sending lawmakers home on Thursday, saying they should stay in Washington and work on a solution. Last week, most House members left town on Wednesday.
Pelosi said, "Here we are once again having a two-day work week in the Congress of the United States."
Negotiations appear at standstill over President Barack Obama's insistence that tax rates increase for top earners. House Speaker John Boehner has agreed to increased tax revenue through reducing or eliminating unspecified tax breaks. But Boehner opposes raising tax rates.