Shutdown (The West Wing)

Shutdown (The West Wing)

Television Episode
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Shutdown (The West Wing)

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"Shutdown" is episode 96 of The West Wing.


A disastrous fiscal crisis looms when the federal government is shut down after the President and the powerful Republican Speaker of the House (Steven Culp) disagree over an extra two percent in budget reductions that would trim many of Bartlet's key social programs. Opinion polls reveal that the public blames the Democrats for the impasse. As Leo, Josh and Toby send the staff home, the trio remains uneasy as the President refuses to compromise – until he hatches a bold plan to personally and publicly challenge the Republicans in the halls of the Capitol. By marching to the Capitol, the President humbles himself and thus re-gains public support by symbolically proving that he is the one who is willing to make the effort to overcome the impasse. Speaker Haffley's counter-measure – snubbing the President by refusing to meet with him right away – backfires when the President eventually leaves, indicating to the public that after the President had taken the first step to resolving the shutdown crisis, it was Congress who had chosen politics over negotiation.

Meanwhile, Abbey suddenly reappears from her self-imposed exile for a State dinner that she might have to cook herself.


This episode had significance in a larger story arc for a few characters, as it marks a comeback and redemption for Josh and the beginning of the decline of other characters. In the episode Constituency of One, Josh was blamed for...
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