Spending cut battles loom after "fiscal cliff" deal reached in Congress

The completion of a tax deal between the White House and the US Congress has sent stocks soaring

But the sense of relief belied the fact that more tax-and-spending brinkmanship is expected as soon as February.

By the end of February, the US Treasury is expected to be unable to pay all the government's bills unless Congress boosts the federal borrowing limit.

Then on March 1st, the across-the-board spending cuts of the fiscal cliff, deferred in this week's deal, are scheduled to begin slicing into military and domestic programmes.

And on March 27th, a government shutdown looms unless Congress approves funding for government operations for the remainder of the fiscal year.

In the wake of the tensions and recriminations of the fiscal-cliff battles, lawmakers and analysts see another last-minute showdown as almost inevitable.