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Government Shutdown Averted, But Bigger Fights on Horizon

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The government is up and running as usual Saturday thanks to an 11th hour deal struck Friday night by negotiators on Capitol Hill, but the intensity of the past week will be nothing compared to the coming battle over even larger spending issues.

As Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Tex., said in an interview last night, the fight over whether or not to raise the debt limit “is going to be Armageddon.”

“We have to see reforms before the debt ceiling is raised … or we would be in danger of having to face this again in another year or two, which we cannot do” Hutchison said in an interview on CNN. “We cannot sustain a $14 trillion debt.”

Her Republican counterpart from Texas, Sen. John Cornyn, tweeted Saturday, “Now on to the main event: the debt limit. Huge leverage for systemic fiscal reform.”

So how did both sides reach the agreement that avoided closing down the federal government?

“In the final hours before our government would have been forced to shut down, leaders in both parties reached an agreement,” President Obama said against the backdrop of the Washington Monument Friday night. “Beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect those investments that will help America compete for new jobs -- investments in our kids’ education and student loans; in clean energy and life-saving medical research. We protected the investments we need to win the future.”

The agreement would cut about $38 billion from the 2010 budget baseline and $78.5 billion from President Obama's 2011 budget proposal, officials said. It also would keep intact funding to Planned Parenthood and resist several other Republican-proposed policy changes.

“At the end of the day,” President Obama said, “this was a debate about spending cuts, not social issues like women’s health and the protection of our air and water. These are important issues that deserve discussion -- just not during a debate about our budget.”

The House and Senate passed temporary resolutions to keep the government funded after midnight, when funding was scheduled to run out. A full agreement will need to be drafted and passed by Congress next week. The short-term “bridge,” as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, described it last night, includes the first $2 billion in cuts.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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