As the logjam over the ‘fiscal cliff’ negotiations continue, it appears that Congressional leaders are increasingly pessimistic that a deal will be reached before Christmas.

A senior Republican aide revealed to the National Journal that the House Ways and Means staff told lawmakers to be prepared to come back the week between Christmas and New Year’s.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid D-Nev. explained to reporters yesterday that it will be “extremely difficult” to avert the fiscal cliff before Christmas.

Update: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told Republicans this morning that they should expect to be in Washington after Christmas until New Year’s as Obama is heading “ever so slowly to the cliff.”