As a federal government shutdown looms this week, some government agencies, federal employees and programs are bracing to be without paychecks and funding until Congress can come to an agreement on keeping the government going.
While national parks, the Head Start program and the Small Business Administration could be temporarily shuttered, one program that will not be affected is the one that directs military aid to Ukraine.
Aid to Ukraine is part of Operation Atlantic Resolve. The operation has been classified as an exempted military operation. As such, there would be no interruption in equipment, training or aid sent to Ukraine in support of its conflict with Russia.
“Operation Atlantic Resolve is an excepted activity under a government lapse in appropriations, which is consistent with the Department of Defense’s ‘Contingency Plan Guidance For Continuation Of Essential Operations In The Absence Of Available Appropriations,’” DOD spokesperson Chris Sherwood said.
The U.S. military’s activities related to supporting Ukraine — such as training Ukrainian soldiers on American tactics and equipment, as well as shipments of weapons to Kyiv — will continue despite any potential shutdown, Politico reported.
As late as last Tuesday, Sherwood was saying a shutdown could halt those activities, Politico reported.
By law, the secretary of Defense can make exceptions to military activities that are usually suspended under a government shutdown, Sherwood added.
Whether an exception for Ukraine should be made during a shutdown has some Republicans becoming more vocal about whether any more money should be sent to aid Ukraine at all.
On Monday, several GOP lawmakers sent a letter to national security adviser Jake Sullivan urging him to provide more precise numbers regarding aid to Ukraine.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with members of the Senate during a visit last week, seeking more help in his country’s fight.
“He answered questions for an hour about support from other allies and partners, transparency and accountability about the aid, how he sees the war ending and what he thinks will happen if we don’t support Ukraine,” said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del.
“I think for us in the Senate, having offered our broad and strong support, to move ahead with appropriations without additional support for Ukraine sends exactly the wrong signal to our partners, our allies and our adversaries around the world.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy backed off on a plan to remove Ukraine aid from a massive military spending bill as Congress struggles with coming together to pass spending bills to keep the government open.
McCarthy now says funding for the war will be included in a spending package because it was too complicated to take out.
Total aid to Ukraine has topped $112 billion so far.