The fiscal cliff could impact everything from medicine to adoption.
President Barack Obama met with House and Senate leaders for more than an hour Friday to discuss compromise.
Obama started the meeting, saying, "We have some urgent business to do."
Speaker John Boehner emerged from the session, saying, "I believe we can do this and avert the fiscal cliff that's right in front of us today."
In Charlotte, many wait and hope.
Helene Nathanson runs her own adoption agency. Right now, people who adopt can get more than $12,000 in tax credits. That could drop to $6,000 or less in January.
"It certainly makes a difference to some people about whether or not they can adopt or whether they can adopt a second child or not,” she said.
Stacey Ellen and her husband adopted Jacob six months ago.
"We were thrilled. We were scared, we were nervous, we were happy,” she said.
They would have adopted either way, but say the $12,000 helped. Now, looking ahead to adopting a second child, they worry the credit will be far lower.
"It's tough. It's very expensive and it's scary," Ellen said.
While they worry about thousands of dollars, Charlotte's major institutions worry about millions.
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte planned to boost its research coffers $20 million over the next eight years. That may not happen now. There may be less money for grants and that means less work and pay for the people who rely on them.
Carolinas HealthCare System, one of the largest employers in the area, could also see a drop in federal dollars for medical technology and medicine. Ten percent of its $32 billion research budget comes through federal funding.