By Gromer Jeffers
Gov. Rick Perry said Tuesday that he was pleased Congress avoided a government shutdown by reaching a budget deal that cut spending.
"This was a very good move in the right direction," Perry said after speaking to the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas. "It's a job well done; now get back to work."
That work, Perry said, will be even more difficult than approving the budget for the rest of the current fiscal year, in which lawmakers avoided the first government shutdown in 15 years and trimmed $38 billion in federal spending.
Democrats and Republicans are expected to clash over additional spending cuts and whether to raise the current $14.25 trillion federal debt ceiling. Republicans are expected to demand major concessions for raising the debt cap, including policy changes on health care, abortion rights, Social Security and the environment.
"The real work is in front of them," Perry said. "John Boehner [the House speaker] said it well. This conversation was about billions. The next conversation will be about trillions."
Perry, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has been a crusader against what he describes as government intrusion and irresponsible spending.
In his speech Tuesday, he pounded Washington while praising Texas as a model for the benefits of states' rights.
"The idea of states' rights has become increasingly disregarded," Perry said. "Washington wants people to follow their standards or pay a price. We're willing to take our chances because the fact is our system works."