Government shutdown would lay off three-quarters of Obama's staff

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 September, 2013, 5:19am

A US government shutdown would mean President Barack Obama had fewer people to cook meals, do the laundry, clean the floors or change the light bulbs, according to a White House contingency plan.

About three-quarters of president's 1,701-person staff would be sent home. The national- security team would be cut back, fewer economists would be tracking the economy and there wouldn't be as many budget officials to track spending.

White House decisions on the environment and drug policy might get postponed.

The congressional dispute would leave the White House with a bare-bones staff, according to the plan submitted on Thursday.

The executive office of the president would designate about 436 employees as "excepted", or exempt from being laid off, to perform their jobs. The remaining 1,265 employees would be sent home.

The president and Vice-President Joe Biden are exempt from such a furlough.

Work would continue "with a limited number of employees to sustain minimal excepted operations", according to the plan.

Like staff at other agencies, most White House employees are being directed to work on the first day of the shutdown for about four hours winding down activities, securing and closing computer files before leaving.

Top White House aides, political appointees and officials requiring Senate confirmation are permitted to work. Of the total, 438 people work directly for the president. Under a shutdown, 129 could continue working, according to the contingency plan.

Biden, who has a staff of 24, would have to make do with 12.

Of the 90 people who maintain the president's family living quarters, only 15 would remain to provide "minimum maintenance and support".

Obama's national-security staff of 66 would be cut to 42.

Similar staff cuts would be imposed at the White House Office of Management and Budget, the Council on Environmental Quality, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Office of National Drug Control Policy, all part of the president's executive office.