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The Stackhouse Filibuster

Original Airdate 03-14-01 Rerun 06-27-01

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Staffers (most of whom have weekend plans) are blindsided when an elderly senator (George Coe) begins Friday-night filibuster on a bill they had thought was a done deal. Meanwhile, Toby is puzzled when the Vice President (Tim Matheson), normally a champion of the oil industry, volunteers to attack it for "price gouging". And C.J. fears that the ancient Egyptian cat goddess Bast has cursed her because she accidentally broke a Bast statuette that had been given to the President on a visit to Cairo.
From NBC:
The President's (Martin Sheen) staff waits impatiently for an elderly but stubborn Senator (George Coe) to yield the floor as he stages a marathon filibuster hoping to stave off a vote on Bartlet's Family Wellness Act bill while Toby (Richard Schiff) is leery of the Vice President's (Tim Matheson) sudden interest in supporting another bill tightening fuel-emission standards. Elsewhere: C.J. (Allison Janney) anxiously paws through her memory as she seeks to locate a missing ceramic cat statue given to the President by a Mideastern potentate who expects to see it displayed during his upcoming visit; Josh (Bradley Whitford) strains to finish business in time to catch a flight for a weekend visit to the spring-training camp of the New York Mets in Florida.


Rob Lowe as Sam (Samuel Norman) Seaborn Deputy Communications Director
Dulé Hill as Charlie (Charles) Young Personal Aide to the President
Allison Janney as C.J. (Claudia Jean) Cregg Press Secretary
Janel Moloney as Donna (Donnatella) Moss Assistant to Deputy Chief of Staff
Richard Schiff as Toby (Tobias Zachary) Ziegler Communications Director
John Spencer as Leo Thomas McGarry Chief of Staff
Bradley Whitford as Josh (Joshua) Lyman Deputy Chief of Staff
Martin Sheen as
Jed (Josiah Edward) Bartlet President of the United States
Special Guest Star
Tim Matheson as
John Hoynes Vice President
Guest Starring    
George Coe as Senator Howard Stackhouse  
Cara DeLizia as Winifred Hooper  
Melissa Fitzgerald as Carol Fitzpatrick (last name)
Assistant to the Press Secretary
Timothy Davis-Reed as Mark O'Donnell (last name) / Reporter
William Duffy as Larry Congressional Liaison
Peter James Smith as Ed Congressional Liaison
Randolph Brooks as Arthur Leeds (last name) / Reporter
Jana Lee Hamblin as Reporter #2 Bobbi
Robyn Pedretti as V.P.'s Aide #1 Candy
Darren Foreman as V.P.'s Aide #2  
Andy Milder as V.P. Assistant Mark
Larry Stahoviak as Staffer #1 previously "Steve" (wrong name)
Lisa Croisette as Staffer #2 previously "Patty" (wrong name)
David Katz as Staffer #3  
Jessica Pennington as Sally  
Shishir Kurup as Zach  
Charles Noland as Steve Reporter
Mindy Seeger as Chris Reporter
Harrison Young as Senator Grissom Tom (first name)
Ron Harper as Chairman  
Dilva Henry as News Anchor  
Pete Leal as Stewart  

Information Links

Children's Health Act of 2000
Cure Autism Now
Gifts Given to the President

Media Quotes

[Bradley] Whitford was more successful in "pestering" writer Aaron Sorkin to include his input about a real-life concern -- autism -- in tonight's episode of The West Wing (airing 9 pm/ET on NBC). As a member of Cure Autism Now, the actor joined celebs like Maya Angelou and Rene Russo to lobby in Washington for the passage of the Children's Health Act of 2000. "Autism in this country is underdiagnosed and exploding in numbers for reasons that people don't understand," he explains. "No beloved celebrities have it, so it's not a disease that gets a lot of attention, and research is underfunded. Congress was recently persuaded that this was true by the arguments that the autism advocates put forth, and we're sort of mirroring that [in [this] episode]."

"Meg Ryan's Bossy Co-Star"
by Daniel R. Coleridge
March 14, 2001
TV Guide Online

Whitford decided to lend his support to a federal bill to help fund autism programs. "I was involved as part of the celebrity lobby helping to pass the Children's Health Act of 2000, of which funding for autism was the engine on the bill," recalls Whitford. "I was green to the political process but became fascinated with how a bill becomes law."

The biggest hurdle, according to Whitford, was preventing the bill from becoming a "Christmas tree."

"Everyone wants to hang an ornament on it in the form of riders and attachments," says Whitford, who plays Josh Lyman. "People were trying to attach tobacco and abortion legislation. It was important the bill be decided only on its own merits."

Through skillful lobbying efforts, the bill passed unanimously and was signed into law last October. For children's health advocates, the passage of the legislation is a major victory.


He became so intrigued with the bill process that he pitched his boss, West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, an idea for an episode based on his real Washington experience.

Sorkin, however, was already working on a show about a filibuster and felt the entire autism issue would play perfectly and incorporated it into "The Stackhouse Filibuster" script.

"It's not precisely what I pitched Aaron," says Whitford. "But who's going to argue with the best writer in Hollywood?"

"TV meets reality: Brad Whitford lobbies for autism"
by John Morgan
May 24, 2001
USA Today

Through [Arlen] Specter's office, [Craig] Snyder was involved in legislation to build five "centers of excellence" for diagnosis, treatment and research of autism. The same approach used in the mid-'80s led to dramatic death-rate reductions in child leukemia.

Pushing the bill was fellow Philly native John Shestack, an L.A.-based movie producer, father of an autistic child, founder of Cure Autism Now. Shestack is the son of prominent Philly lawyer Jerome Shestack, American Bar Association president 1997-98. He is also a close friend and college chum (Wesleyan in Connecticut) of "West Wing" actor Brad Whitford, who plays White House deputy chief of staff Josh Lyman.

While lobbying for the legislation, Snyder recommended getting celebrities involved. Whitford, who grew up in Wayne ("I was formed on the stuck-up Main Line"), was called in. Snyder and Whitford hit it off....

"Craig has been phenomenally integral in helping us formulate an autism story line," Whitford said in a telephone interview from "West Wing's" L.A. set. "I knew nothing of the process. . .he's on the ground, has experience."

Snyder helped write the Children's Health Act of 2000, (the show tonight calls it "The Family Wellness Act"). And, as in real life, the bill runs into trouble and is saved only when. . .well, don't want to spoil it for "West Wing" fans.


"In its first season, the show was popular but with a taint," Snyder said. In ... "The Stackhouse Filibuster," Republicans look more human. Said Snyder, "We give a Republican something constructive."

"A prime-time success story"
by John Baer
March 14, 2001
Philadelphia Daily News

Actress NiCole Robinson, 33, who plays administrative assistant Margaret on NBC's "The West Wing", married lobbyist Craig Snyder, 42, on July 4 in Washington D.C..

by Unknown
July 28, 2003

For more information about this episode:
Continuity Guide to "The West Wing"
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