Washington (CNN) - Fiscal cliff negotiations between the staffs of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will be led by David Krone, who is Reid's chief of staff, and Sharon Soderstrom, who is McConnell's.
Aides think these talks, which could start Friday night and carry on through Sunday, will be mostly done over the phone or via e-mail. There is a chance of some face-to-face meetings between Krone and Soderstrom if they think those would have value.
The meetings are not expected to directly involve Reid and McConnell and neither senator is expected to be in the Capitol on Saturday. That, of course, could change.
In fact, the Capitol is expected to be largely empty on Saturday, other than a few staffers involved in these talks.
In the talks, Democrats believe it's up to Republicans to make the "first move," essentially informing Democrats of how they need to change the president's most recent proposal to win enough GOP support to get it through the Senate (and House, presumably).
Democrats expect Republicans will want to raise the income threshold from $250,000 to $400,000. They also expect Republicans to push to keep estate taxes at lower levels. Democrats say they might be open to one of these changes but probably not both. They're not sure what other changes Republicans might suggest.
Republicans don't deny that this is the likely process.
Both sides say their goal is to reach an agreement by Sunday so they can present it to their respective caucuses in private meetings that afternoon. Neither side would predict when a vote might take place in the Senate, be it Sunday or later.
A GOP aide said that while House Speaker John Boehner's staff won't be directly part of the negotiations, they will be kept fully informed of moment-by-moment developments by McConnell's staff.
The White House will be kept informed by Reid's staff.