CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- For the time being, all three of West Virginia's representatives in the U.S. House are keeping their staff members working as the national debate over the federal shutdown continues.
Both senators, however, appear to have furloughed at least some of their staff.
After Congress failed to agree on a measure to fund the federal government, roughly 800,000 employees nationwide were told Tuesday they couldn't go to work.
National lawmakers are considered "essential" employees and as such continue to receive their pay as mandated by law.
Their staff members are not considered essential. However, a lawmaker can declare employees essential if he or she believes they are needed.
Senators and representatives can declare as many staffers "essential" as they feel is necessary.
As of late Tuesday, Reps. Shelley Moore Capito and David McKinley, both R-W.Va., and Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., all declared every member of their staffs essential.
Capito employs 16 people, and McKinley employs 13, spokesmen for the representatives said. A spokeswoman for Rahall confirmed all of the congressman's employees are still working but did not say how many people work in the office.
Keeping everyone on board ensures better constituent services, spokespeople for the representatives said.
"In the beginning, all employees are deemed essential to assist constituents with the many questions and concerns in regard to the shutdown," said Joel Brubaker, Capito's chief of staff.
"In all likelihood, the office would begin rotating furloughs if a shutdown continues."
Jim Forbes, spokesman for McKinley, said the congressman already keeps a "lean" staff but that adding furloughs could be necessary if the shutdown persists.