Government shutdown could affect operations at the White House
April 7th, 2011
07:32 AM ET
11 years ago

Government shutdown could affect operations at the White House

Washington (CNN) - If Congressional leaders cannot reach a budget deal to avert a government shutdown, the impact could hit close to home for President Barack Obama.

The Executive Office of the President encompasses almost 50 different departments at the White House, ranging from the Executive Residence to the social secretary's office to the White House press secretary to the White House Counsel.

In addition, there are other departments such as the United States Secret Service and the landscapers which fall under other departments.

But who would be deemed essential to keep the White House running? While senior administration officials expect that there will "be significant lower staffing levels at the White House", no one is quite sure who will be affected.

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the law exempts some employees from a furlough if their work is deemed essential during a shutdown. The OMB describes "excepted employees" as those who are necessary for "safety of human life and protection of property." But there's also a clause of which exempts employees that "perform certain other types of excepted work." The meaning of that remains undefined.

While no one is talking about how it could personally affect them, some categories of essential workers are clearly identified. Excepted employees include members of the military and law enforcement. The United States Secret Service will still protect the Obamas and the Bidens. There will still be Secret Service officers at various locations around the White House campus.

The White House doctors will still be available to the president 24 hours a day. The doctors are military personnel along with the staffs of Camp David, Marine One, Air Force One, and the workers in the "White House Mess" which is where staffers eat at the West Wing.

Since the White House is technically a national park, the grounds are tended to by the National Park Service, however it remains unclear if they will be exempted employees. But the White House Visitor Center, across the street from the White House, is operated by park rangers and therefore White House tours could be suspended during a possible government shutdown.

But other offices face more uncertainty if the government shuts down. Will the president travel less because the White House Travel Office is deemed non-essential? How will the Office of the Press Secretary be affected? Those and many more questions are left unanswered as the budget negotiations continue.

Filed under: Budget • Government Shutdown • White House
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Well, isn't that partly why the GOP is pushing for a shutdown with their brinksmanship, refusal to compromise and insistence on poison pill riders? They'll do anything to hamper Obama's (or any Dem POTUS') ability to succeed. What's the odds on whether the GOP plays chicken with a shutdown next time there's a Dem POTUS? Any takers?

    April 7, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. Nelson Colorado Springs Co.

    Well let's go fishing shut it down. See america you get what you voted for a Republican Congress, shut it down, shut it down, shut it down.

    April 7, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  3. Fregameeate

    Most probably, shutting down the Government would improve White House efficiency.

    April 7, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Jennifer McDaniel

    I am wondering when the Congress and Senate are going to take pay cuts? My husband and thousands of other service members risk their lives every day and they are taking an upcoming pay freeze and looking at a federal shutdown with no paycheck? It amazes me that these greedy people are making decisions at the top and manage to create an exemption clause for themselves every time. What do we need to do to make our voices heard? We absolutely need to cut spending, but that means spending across the board. Greed and poor judgment is what has gotten us here today and for people to blame the Democrats or Obama is ridiculous. It took years for us to get here and if we want to do finger pointing we need to look at the Bush administration. Obama is just the poor guy who got the clean up job after the mess George W. Bush made. Get real people!!!! We didn't get here overnight and we aren't going to correct it overnight and to assume that possibility is sheer ignorance. Wake up AMERICA!!! My husband and thousands of others defend this country and the rights of every citizen here include the rights of congress to freeze their pay!!! They should be ashamed of themselves!!

    April 7, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. Dean

    Oh no, Obama will have to cut his own grass!

    April 7, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. Mary D

    The Republicans, are talking about they want more concessions in the budget. (Let the Republicans close the Government down again, and see what happens) Any thinking and caring American knows that the only part of the budget that the Republicans want changed is Health Care. If the President would scratch Health Care (we all know that aint going happen) they would be happy and able to go home with a victory. Then they could go and try to put a health care paper together that would not as caring as President Obama's . The Republicans do not want President Obama to go down in history with the first Health Care Bill in American, espccially since it was a bill that passed without Republicans. Also Donald Trump is showing his true colors. Donald Trump is also a hater. He will speak the loudest, because his voice so loud.

    April 7, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. GOP = Greed Over People

    By my recollection the government is going to be shut since there is not the required 72 hours between now and tomorrow night at midnight to meet the new law Bawlin' Boehner instituted as part of the bill passing process. Surely, he would not toss his "transpancy promise" aside?

    Oh wait, I think he promised the same thing about JOBS and to date we are fighting over an anti-abortion rider on the 2011 budget, with nary a jobs incentive bill in sight after 3 months.

    Oops, hope that wasn't too harsh oh lying Orange Oracle, I certainly would not want to be the reason you teared up and started a crying jag. Of course, tippling the vino while working under stress would also cause you to cry due to decreased inhibitions, and Mr. Boehner, you do like your merlot, but surely you are ethical enough NOT to drink on the job, right.

    But then again, Foley was textually fondling young boys right on the floor of Congress!

    You big, girly man, wino wuss.

    Too harsh?

    April 7, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    This is silly to have even this close to a risk of a shut down. There is plenty of blame to go around. I would have hoped that the GOP would have settled on a number and just put more into their proposal for the next budget year.

    April 7, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |