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GOP’s fatal leadership failure: The real story behind the shutdown

In less than 12 hours, the federal government will run out of money. The fiscal year ends tonight at midnight and Congress has yet to pass legislation to extend its lapsing funds.

If you've come to know Congress as a lumbering behemoth that takes months to do what a more nimble institution could pull off in days, you might reasonably conclude that a shutdown of some length is at this point inevitable -- that even if Congress settled on an agreeable plan this afternoon, there wouldn't be enough time to pass it.