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

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Posted at 10:47 AM, Sep 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-30 10:47:05-04

(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.