While the U.S. government could soon shut down without a budget in place, the Pentagon anticipates that it will still be able to provide training and support for Ukrainian military forces currently fighting with Russia.
Department of Defense (DOD) spokesman Chris Sherwood said that Operation Atlantic Resolve—the U.S. military mission that oversees the training and supplying of Ukrainian forces with military weapons and equipment—will continue even if there's a government shutdown, in a statement shared with NTD News.
"Operation Atlantic Resolve is an excepted activity under a government lapse in appropriations, which is consistent with DOD’s Contingency Plan Guidance For Continuation Of Essential Operations In The Absence Of Available Appropriations," Mr. Sherwood wrote.
It's unclear what led the DOD to change its assessment and determine that support for the Ukrainian government would continue.
"As I understand it, for F-16 training, work or delivery of any equipment funded on previous [Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative] notifications such as F-16 pilot training, that would continue," Gen. Ryder said. "Execution could be impacted by furloughs and DOD's suspension of non-excepted activities. So in other words, the training would happen, but depending on—on whether or not there were certain personnel that were not able to report for duty, for example, that—that could have an impact on it."
Ukraine Aid Fueling Budget DebateThe risk of a government shutdown has been brought on by a fractured Congress. Beyond the expected challenge of reconciling any budget proposals between the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House, there are also divisions within the Republican House majority that are holding up a budget deal.
Congress has just days left to decide how to fund the government in fiscal year 2024. The current fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
Several Republicans have signaled that more funding for Ukraine could be a budget deal-breaker.
In an Aug. 31 meeting with her constituents, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) described new funding for Ukraine as a "red line" in budget negotiations that would lead her to vote against a bill.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.)—one of the key House Freedom Caucus players who are taking part in the intraparty budget debate—signaled opposition to new Ukraine aid as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy arrived in Washington.
He said that "it’s not a good time" for Mr. Zelenskyy to visit.
Mr. Paul and Mr. Donalds were among a group of six Republican U.S. senators and 22 Republican U.S. representatives who wrote to the White House Office of Management and Budget, stating that they would oppose a Biden administration request for more Ukraine-related funding. The Republican lawmakers signaled no support for new Ukraine aid until they get answers on how the United States is tracking its existing aid to Ukraine and how the Biden administration will define its goals, measures of success, and exit plan for its ongoing strategy of propping up Ukraine against Russia.