White House: Interns would not work during government shutdown

In 1995, White House intern Monica Lewinsky took on an expanded role during the government shutdown, leading to an extramarital affair with former President Bill Clinton. The circumstances that eventually resulted in Clinton's impeachment won't be repeated in 2013.

The White House said Monday that interns would not staff the West Wing during a potential government shutdown.

"[It] is not the case now, that volunteers or interns would be working," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "They will not."

The White House did not comment on its motivation for the decision.

That was not the case during the Clinton administration, when the White House gave interns — including, most notably, a 22-year-old Lewinsky — more responsibilities.

In the report prepared by Kenneth Starr, the White House staff shrunk from 430 people to about 90 people during that shutdown. As a result, Lewinsky took on a larger role in the West Wing, running errands for then Chief of Staff Leon Panetta.

In a letter to the Office of Management and Budget, the White House said that if lawmakers are unable to strike a deal, approximately 1,265 staff members would be furloughed. Approximately 436 presidential staffers would be designated as exempt and continue working, despite a shutdown.

--This report was updated on Tuesday at 7:39 a.m.