The United States military branch has stated that it should still be able to provide funding for Ukraine support, even if it cannot fund itself. In a statement, Department of Defense spokesman Chris Sherwood mentioned that Operation Atlantic Resolve, the U.S. military mission responsible for training and equipping Ukrainian military forces, will proceed even if there is a government shutdown. This determination was made after the DOD initially indicated that a government shutdown could disrupt support for the Ukrainian government. However, the DOD has now classified these efforts as “essential operations” that will continue during shutdowns. It is unclear what led to this change in assessment.
During a press conference, Pentagon Press Secretary Gen. Pat Ryder further confirmed that F-16 pilot training for Ukrainian pilots and the delivery of equipment funded by previous notifications will also continue. However, the execution of these activities could be impacted by furloughs and the suspension of non-excepted activities by the Department of Defense.
Amidst discussions of government funding for fiscal year 2024, there are divisions within Congress that could lead to a government shutdown. The House Freedom Caucus, a conservative faction within the Republican majority, is requesting more limits on discretionary spending and conservative policy riders. This has caused delays in reaching a budget deal that satisfies all House Republicans. Some Republicans have signaled that increased funding for Ukraine could be a deal-breaker. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Rep. Byron Donalds, both members of the House Freedom Caucus, have expressed opposition to additional Ukraine aid, citing concerns about the deficit and future borrowing. Senator Rand Paul has also stated his intention to block any budget deal that includes more spending for Ukraine. A group of Republican lawmakers has written to the White House Office of Management and Budget, demanding answers about existing aid to Ukraine and the administration’s goals, measures of success, and exit plan in its strategy against Russia.