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Ukraine doesn’t have to worry about a potential U.S. government shutdown affecting the flow of cash, weapons, and military equipment to its country after the Pentagon exempted Ukrainian operations from the possible shutdown.
As lawmakers on Capitol Hill attempt to work out a deal to avoid a government shutdown, a Department of Defense spokesman told POLITICO Thursday that the Pentagon will ensure its Ukraine operations such as training and weapons shipments to President Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces continue even if the U.S. government shuts down. In previous government shutdowns, only military activities deemed to be essential to national security continued normal operations, the outlet reported.
“Operation Atlantic Resolve is an excepted activity under a government lapse in appropriations,” DOD spokesman Chris Sherwood said of the continued U.S. assistance to Ukraine.
The statement from the DOD was a reversal of what it said just two days prior when it worried that a government shutdown could interrupt the “delivery of defense articles, services and/or military education and training” to Ukraine.
While support and aid to Ukraine would continue to flow during a shutdown, the potential shutdown could affect the already deficient security at the U.S. southern border, the Dallas Morning News reported. During the last government shutdown in 2019, essential Border Patrol agents continued to work, but it delayed important maintenance and repairs that “had a serious impact on law enforcement officer operations and safety … including those responsible for border security,” according to a report from the Senate permanent subcommittee on investigations.
The possibility of border security being affected by a shutdown didn’t bother some Republicans, who say that a government shutdown couldn’t make the border crisis any worse than it has already been under President Joe Biden.
“The border has been wide open since Joe Biden took office, which is why shutting down a government that doesn’t protect its borders is not something I’m losing any sleep over,” Rep. Lance Gooden, (R-TX) said, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Daily border crossings have reached an all-time high with around 9,000 illegal immigrants coming into the U.S. every day between last Friday through Monday.
Democrats in Congress, who have been largely quiet on addressing illegal immigrants flowing through the southern border, are now pointing to the ongoing border crisis as a reason for Republicans to come to an agreement on a spending bill.
According to Rep. Jasmine Crockett (D-TX), a government shutdown “will jeopardize our country in more ways than one.”
“One of the biggest impacts specifically for Texans is border security,” Crockett added. “Unlike the Republicans, I actually had a conversation with Customs and Border Protection officers to talk about the impact of the shutdown and the strain that it produces on their families.”
Republicans in the House so far have not reached an agreement on avoiding a shutdown as some members of the most conservative wing of the caucus have held out on approving an appropriations bill in an attempt to force the federal government to improve security at the southern border. The Republican holdouts, which include Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, have frustrated House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) who said he has not “heard one complaint by any member of what’s wrong with this bill.” Taylor Greene flipped her vote on the appropriations bill to “no” over the further funding of Ukraine while the U.S. border crisis continues.
“Our country is being invaded by the thousands every damn day and our Department of Defense does nothing. Our Defense bill should not fund our DOD for blood money for the Ukraine war, that’s why I’m a NO,” the congresswoman said. “What did we get out of Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan?”
Congress has until the end of next week to pass an appropriations bill and avoid a shutdown.