In many ways, the tough spot that Washington finds itself in this weekend is because of Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.). It was Graves who came up with a plan to defund the new health-care law, known as Obamacare, as part of a short-term spending bill. The idea quickly drew the support of dozens of colleagues, forcing House leaders to adopt the plan as part of a bill that passed the House, but was rejected by the Senate on Friday.
The 43-year-old lawmaker epitomizes the modern-day House Republican in style and substance. On the strength of a very conservative voting record in the Georgia legislature and an up-from-the-bootstraps life story (he grew up “in a single-wide trailer on a tar and gravel road,” according to his official biography), he won his congressional seat in a special election in July 2010. That got him to Washington just a few months before the tea party wave swept over the country, giving Republicans control of the House.