What happens at the White House when the government shuts down?
September 30th, 2013
10:26 AM ET
10 months ago

What happens at the White House when the government shuts down?

Washington (CNN) – As the government charges toward a shutdown at midnight, federal workers are facing forced time off – including those who work for President Barack Obama.

Like all federal agencies, there are White House staffers whose work is deemed "essential," meaning they won't be forced to stay home. But a good portion of people who work under the umbrella of the Executive Office of the President will be placed on furlough – 1,265 in total, according to a letter from the administrative office in the White House that was addressed to Sylvia Burwell, the director of President Barack Obama's budget office.

If the government shuts down at 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday, those workers are allowed to report for four hours of work to "engage in orderly shutdown activities," but after that, will be expected to stay home.

The letter noted roughly 436 employees would be "excepted" from the furloughs in order to keep essential functions running at a minimal level. About a quarter – 129 in total – are responsible for "supporting the president in the discharge of his constitutional duties," the letter stated.

Inside the president's residence, 15 staff will be required to provide "minimum maintenance and support" – though at Vice President Joe Biden's official residence, only a single staff member is necessary during a government shutdown.

In total, Biden requires 12 staff members to perform his constitutional duties.

Different offices within the White House will still require staffers to show up for work – the National Security Staff, tasked with foreign policy matters, needs 42 employees for work during a shutdown, and the Office of Management and Budget, responsible for handling any government funding measure that eventually passes Congress, will need 118 staff members at work.

Eight employees are required to man the Office of National Drug Control Policy, while seven are needed at the Office of Science and Technology Policy.

–CNN White House Producers Adam Aigner-Treworgy and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Joe Biden • President Obama • White House
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Fair is Fair

    "Like all federal agencies, there are White House staffers whose work is deemed "essential," meaning they won't be forced to stay home."
    -------
    Unlike the dreaded private sector, where if the job isn't "essential", there is no job.

    September 30, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    Everyone parties. Not much difference than when they are supposed to be working.

    September 30, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  3. HenryMiller

    Make that 1,266—Obama himself ought to be made to stay out of the West Wing. Just about every time he goes into the Oval Office, he screws something up.

    September 30, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  4. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    What about Secret Service personnel?

    September 30, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I notice the article does not refer to the Secret Service and how they, if at all, will be impacted as it pertains to continuing to protect the President at the level that he is currently being protected.
    I will not mince words. At this juncture and in light of the Republican's dogged resolve to lean towards irrational thought and action I do not put ANYTHING past them, up to and including purposefully joepardizing the safety of the current President of these United States.
    I said it and stand by it.

    September 30, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Republicans seem to think that they can literally tell the American people what to think and who'd be to blame for a shutdown. It's what they've always done on every issue before the Congress. Messaging. It's all about the messaging to the right wing.

    Political failure is always indicative of a messaging problem to the right. More times than not, they will blame the public for not understanding their message. Their too arrogant to realize that people have listened to them, and that their message is the problem.

    September 30, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Angie

    What if you can't afford to wait another year for affordable health insurance??

    September 30, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. wendel

    once again the republican congress has held the nation hostage and brought us to the brink. 40 + votes and they are still trying to get rid of the affordable care act. What do they not understand. ???? The election is over they lost.

    September 30, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Data Driven

    Gee, I hope a major crisis doesn't erupt during the shutdown. A weakened White House may not be equipped to deal with it.

    We begin to perceive the GOP's strategy, do we not?

    September 30, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Rudy NYC
    Indeed Rudy. I will take it a step further. Republicans are COUNTING on us, the voters, forgetting about this "little episode". However long this little episode aka government shutdown lasts.
    They are banking on us the voters going completely blank on this fiasco that they've wrought due to their adherence to ideology versus the good of the country come 2014.
    They are acting like folks who do NOT fear NOT being re-elected, or worse, not electing more of them so that they can screw us in greater numbers and with more frequency after the 2014 elections.
    You can't make these people up.

    September 30, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  11. Data Driven

    "Unlike the dreaded private sector, where if the job isn't "essential", there is no job"

    Hm. "Administrative assistants" come immediately to mind, along with countless other positions, whether in the public or private sector.

    Not every job is essential - most aren't, in fact. But most are important.

    September 30, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. kirk

    Just love paying the gop to campaign for the Koch brothers 24/7/365, they are an evil group, what threat does a hungry child pose to them? They talk about how precious a child is, but refuse to fund children's prenatal care if your parent is poor, too bad. This gop unchecked would kill our country in record time. Absolute class warfare, we would all be responsible to acknowledged this, and vote accordingly, if not your helping to seal your own fate, and others as well. When warren buffet says this is class warfare, you can believe it! Stop being foolish because if your hatred, and prejudices, three us only one sane vote, I don't like it,, but its true

    September 30, 2013 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Sniffit

    "Unlike the dreaded private sector, where if the job isn't "essential", there is no job."

    Yay for deliberately misinterpreting it and ignoring that the word would mean two different things in two very different contexts. Semantic games are the last resort of those with no substantive argument.

    September 30, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  14. freedom

    Obama will have to OWN this. The American people are on to your manipulations and lies.

    September 30, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. Anonymous

    "Their too arrogant to realize that people have listened to them, and that their message is the problem."

    I agree with all you have said. It is their arrogance that will finally bring them down. The GOP hasn't listened to Americans for too many years now be considered even slightly credible on any significant policymaking decisions. It is a lesson they and their pundits need to learn before the 2014 elections kick off in earnest. There is an anger throughout America; an anger that the GOP has ignored far too long. That anger is directed at them. It's high time the GOP deflate their inflatable bubble and remove themselves from their self made echo chamber and start looking at where they are as a party and where America is as a country. The two are not consistent. While the country is begging for Republican leadership, Republicans are still hanging onto teapers who want nothing BUT failure. From the President; from their party leadership; from Congress.

    September 30, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Gunderson

    Liberal's tuning up Fiddles. Peasants all wait government handouts. Now why people put bunch idiots in charge of life? Me know. They need a Nanny.

    September 30, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. Tom

    Looks to me like the independents are the key to how this is perceived. Clearly, it depends on the side you are on. The poll I saw had it 39% blame congress, 38% blame Obama and 17% blame both.

    On a side note, I did it hilarious to hear the liberals call repubs "terrorists" so easily yet they can't use that word when it comes to Islamic fundamentalists.

    September 30, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    -HenryMiller

    Make that 1,266—Obama himself ought to be made to stay out of the West Wing. Just about every time he goes into the Oval Office, he screws something up.

    -Rick McDaniel

    Everyone parties. Not much difference than when they are supposed to be working.

    -freedom

    Obama will have to OWN this. The American people are on to your manipulations and lies.
    *************************
    More examples of Conservative Bipolar Oppositional Defiance Disorder ( CBODD). The shudown is the brainshild of the Right, because of their fantasy of defunding the ACA by threatening a shutdown. The ACA is law, the SCOTUS found it constitutional, so deal with it. It also seems that when the Hosue Republicans show up to collect the 175K salary, they accomplish nothing. How much money afre we wasting on legislators that accomplish nothing? They can't win, yet they keep doing it to keep the money flowing into their coffers. And after they lose 2014 and 2016 because they have shown themselves incapblae of leading, legislating, or any viable alternatives, they will still say the voters are stupid, they are brainwashed, etc. Open your damn eyes and see how the world views you: you are wasting our time and money. Go away.

    September 30, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  19. Tom

    Looks to me like the independents are the key to how this is perceived. Clearly, it depends on the side you are on. The poll I saw had it 39% blame congress, 38% blame Obama and 17% blame both.

    On a side note, I do find it hilarious to hear the liberals call repubs "terrorists" so easily yet they can't use that word when it comes to Islamic fundamentalists.

    September 30, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Dominican mama 4 Obama wrote:

    Rudy NYC
    Indeed Rudy. I will take it a step further. Republicans are COUNTING on us, the voters, forgetting about this "little episode". However long this little episode aka government shutdown lasts.
    They are banking on us the voters going completely blank on this fiasco that they've wrought due to their adherence to ideology versus the good of the country come 2014.
    They are acting like folks who do NOT fear NOT being re-elected, or worse, not electing more of them so that they can screw us in greater numbers and with more frequency after the 2014 elections.
    ----------------------------–
    Right. They have no fear of not being re-elected because they every reason to believe that they will be re-elected. Their districts have been so gerry-mandered that there is little chance of any except a right wing hard liner would get elected. You know there is something wrong when Democrats can collect millions more House votes, and still have such a wide margin in the number of House Seats held by each party.

    September 30, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Anonymous

    @Tom

    Don't look for Republican support from Independents in 2014. They've been ignored by the GOP right along with the rest of Americans. Especially those who are of the female gender. Eventually even older white Americans are going to understand and come to grips with the fact that the GOP no longer represents them either.

    September 30, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Sniffit

    "Obama will have to OWN this. The American people are on to your manipulations and lies."

    Yeah, nothing says "it's Obama's fault" like months of the radicalized right wing demanding that the gov't be shut down and then gloating after they arrange for it to happen.

    September 30, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  23. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Angie

    What if you can't afford to wait another year for affordable health insurance??
    -------------------------------------------------
    Well, what of it?
    This isn't about you or me Angie. Heck this isn't about the 2 or 3 folks out there that would still call themselves Republicans.
    This is about taking the President down.
    This about taking away his legacy.
    Full steam ahead, damn the torpedoes and blow up the economy.

    September 30, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  24. Vince

    I'd throw a party at the White House during the shutdown. The GOP just ensured they aren't picking up the Senate in 2014 and haven't learned anything from the 2012 elections.

    September 30, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Paula Malecek

    Responding to all the drama is not something I normally do but I am out raged that members of the House keep saying the people want. Well, what are we ,Other than a fit throwing small group that thinks they know what is best for all of us is wrong. I am an independent, who is capable of speaking for myself through voting for the person not a R or D stamped on there head. Right now my 46 year old daughter is at the emergency room because of a heart attack 4 mos. ago. she doesn't have ins. because she can't get any and when she could we couldn't afford it. I am 65 and on social security disability so I think I qualify to speak on this. Why should the Senate come running back. They have made it more than clear they aren't going to discuss anything that deals with a law that has already passed, like it or not. The People need to demand the Senate and the House should have to forfeit there pay any time they put our country in risk of shut down . I was told that the House pasted a bill last night for , The Military Pay Act, so the service men and women will be paid. My son-in-law is a Marine at Cherry Point N.C and my granddaughter works for the state of N.C. This childish bantering needs to stop and they all need to stop the fear tactics. Do What, We The People Pay You For.

    September 30, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
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