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Senior West Wing staff learning to do tasks typically done by junior aides as White House braces for shutdown


By MJ Lee and Kayla Tausche, CNN

(CNN) — The White House is continuing to brace for a possible government shutdown this weekend, including making preparations for many junior personnel being furloughed starting on October 1.

Some senior West Wing staff in recent days have been learning how to perform tasks that would typically be executed by junior aides, including blasting out news releases or making updates to the White House website, officials said.

So-called “commissioned officers” – including those with titles like special assistant, deputy assistant, and assistant to the president – will be required to report for duty as essential workers. West Wing employees ranking beneath them will likely be furloughed and have been told they will need to leave their government devices at the office once a shutdown begins.

Other employees will remain at work because they serve critical functions to national security and safety. The entirety of the National Security Council, the US Secret Service and many legal, law enforcement and budgetary functions will remain essential.

“Shalanda’s office will need to remain intact, for instance,” said one aide, in reference to White House budget director Shalanda Young, one of the most senior White House officials currently focusing on paying the government bills and working with lawmakers on a path forward on government funding.

A stop-gap bill to keep the government open has emerged from the Senate, but White House and administration officials have insisted in recent days that there is simply no telling what House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and House Republicans will do, and that the situation remains unpredictable.

As lawmakers on Capitol Hill continue to try to find a way to avert a shutdown, the White House insists that a small group of House Republicans is entirely to blame.

“This is needless,” a White House official said Thursday.

Outreach to congressional leaders by senior officials, such as White House Director of Legislative Affairs Shuwanza Goff, continues.

Biden has been traveling on the West Coast since Tuesday, and is set to return to Washington, DC, Thursday night. He plans to remain in the city this weekend, a relatively rare occurrence as he typically decamps for one of his Delaware homes or Camp David on Friday afternoons.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - Politics

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