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Government shutdowns: 2015 • 2018
The United States federal government shutdown of 2015 occurred in March 2015. President Stuart Hughes used the shutdown to divert attention away from the aftermath of the Uzbek hostage crisis and blame Congress.
The Hughes Administration was delivered a crippling blow in the 2014 midterm elections wherein the opposition party gained a majority in the House of Representatives. Shortly afterwards, the Uzbek hostage crisis unfolded. In January 2015, it was revealed that Hughes had full knowledge that one of the hostages was a CIA operative, endangering the lives of the other hostages.
Throughout January 2015, Hughes reached across the aisle to House Speaker Jim Marwood, including forcing Vice President Selina Meyer to cancel an offensive song to be sung about Marwood at a charity dinner. In February 2015, Meyer and House Majority Leader Mary King negotiated a budget to prevent a shutdown. At the last minute, Hughes rejected any budget deal, in an effort to blame Congress and take the heat out of the hostage fallout.
The shutdown began in March 2015. In certain metropolitan areas, garbage began piling up, due to the suspension of garbage collection services. At the vice president's residence, Meyer's personal aide Gary Walsh organized a private clean-up crew to remove the vice president's garbage, only to be forced to rummage through the vice president's trash to collect several intimate items.
Following the start of the shutdown, Hughes participated in an interview with Politico. During the interview, Hughes blamed Meyer for the shutdown, stating: "Selina Meyer is a feisty operator and a fine VP. She tried her best to prevent this shutdown, working long hours, but it was a tough call." Hughes' statement encouraged Speaker Marwood to exclude Meyer from further budget discussions.
Bear attack Edit
At a Minnesota national park, a man was attacked and killed by a black bear, fifteen yards from a ranger's station. Due to the shutdown, no park rangers were on site to prevent the attack. Minnesota Governor Danny Chung, an outspoken critic of the shutdown, went to console the widow, who blamed the politicians who started this shutdown.
The shutdown did little to divert attention away from the hostage crisis fallout. During Meyer's interview with Janet Ryland, she took responsibility for the hostage crisis and offered a heartfelt apology on behalf of the administration--not doing anything to repair Hughes' damaged image.
Hughes announced in June 2015 that he would not be running for re-election in the 2016 presidential election.