By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you think this past week’s fiscal cliff deal puts an end to the partisan grid lock in Washington, guess again.

Congress did reach a deal on taxes, but they put off dealing with raising the debt ceiling and spending cuts.

And those are two issues that could push us to the edge of the fiscal cliff again in just a few months.

The United States will run out of money to pay its bills sometime in late February or March unless Congress raises the debt ceiling, dramatically slashes spending or comes up with a plan that does some of both.

The country’s borrowing has already hit the legal limit of more than $16 trillion and the president said this weekend he won’t compromise about raising the debt limit to pay for bills Congress has already passed.

But many Republican lawmakers say they are ready to fight. Minnesota Republican Congressman John Kline appeared on WCCO Sunday Morning.

“We’ve been very, very clear that we’re not going to raise the debt ceiling unless we get some real spending cuts and entitlement reform,” he said. “Our problem is huge debt and running high deficits every year. We have got to take steps to address that or our ratings will go down and we’ll just be in trouble. And it’s a huge amount of debt for our kids and grandkids. We demand those spending cuts.”

This battle affects all of us. Failure to reach a debt ceiling deal could send the nation back into a recession.

The nation’s credit rating would almost certainly be lowered. There would be turmoil in the stock market affecting people’s investments and 401Ks.

The President and Republican leaders insist they don’t want this fight to down to the wire — but stay tuned. This promises to be another fiscal cliff hanger.

You can watch WCCO Sunday Morning with Esme Murphy and Matt Brickman every Sunday at 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.

Esme Murphy