The frantic showdown that brought the nation to the brink of default was several years in the making.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia banded together with fellow GOP congressmen Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Kevin McCarthy of California to form the "Young Guns," a moniker drawn from a magazine headline and a story anointing them as three of the party's rising stars. Together, the trio scoured the country for like-minded conservatives who shared their uncompromising commitment to shrink the federal government. But once many of this new breed of politician arrived in Washington, the GOP leadership found itself struggling to control a rambunctious rank and file. Melina Mara/THE WASHINGTON POST Buy Photo