WASHINGTON — One crisis averted, on to the next.

The day after Congress managed to avoid a government shutdown — again — Republicans and Democrats stared ahead Tuesday at major fights over spending that underscore a divide that's sure to define the fast-approaching national elections.

Monday night, lawmakers had postponed their dispute over whether billions for disaster aid must be paid for with cuts elsewhere in the budget, finessing a pact to keep the government operating.

But tea party-driven Republicans are still insisting on significant spending cuts this fall, with some arguing that a hard-fought congressional agreement this summer to fund the government at $1.043 trillion in 2012 was too generous.