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Pentagon to keep funding Ukraine through shutdown, but US troops might not get paid

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III talks with sailors aboard the USS Harry S. Truman, from the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., Dec. 22, 2021. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)
September 25, 2023

The Pentagon announced that Ukraine aid will not be disrupted by a government shutdown if lawmakers are unable to pass a budget agreement; however, active-duty troops and some Defense Department employees may work without pay, officials warn.

Defense Department spokesperson Chris Sherwood told Fox News Digital in a statement that aid to Ukraine under Operation Atlantic Resolve is an “excepted activity under a government lapse in appropriations,” and the Pentagon has put in place a plan for those “essential” operations.

The Pentagon also said the department will “continue to defend the nation and conduct ongoing military operations” involving active-duty troops and some civilian employees, but officials warn those troops and staffers may not get paid.

READ MORE: McCarthy eyes a short-term funding bill to head off a shutdown

“Troops literally don’t know when they’re going to get paid again,” said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) about the possible shutdown and how it could impact U.S. troops. “No one is going to be happy not knowing if and when they’re going to get paid again. It would be unbelievably disruptive to the ability of our servicemen and women to do their jobs and protect our country.”

Brian Kelly, president of the Military Officers Association of America, also warned Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Space Force troops are “not guaranteed to be paid during a funding lapse.”

“Lapses in compensation to essential services stymie the ability to grow, equip and maintain the force necessary to meet national security needs and jeopardize retention, recruitment and the readiness of our all-volunteer uniformed services,” he added, according to Stars and Stripes.

Republican lawmakers erupted over the Pentagon’s plan to continue funding Ukraine through a government shutdown.

“I don’t know who the Biden regime is working for, but it’s quite obviously not for the American people,” said Rep. Michael Cloud (R-Texas).

“You can’t make this up,” Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) told Fox News Digital in a statement. “Enough of the insanity already. Seems like Biden fell asleep on the train and got off at Ukraine instead of America. I don’t even know if he recognizes which country he’s leading, he’s so hellbent on sending every possible dollar to a country that we have no stake in while our own implodes.”

“I have zero interest in funding an eternal WWIII and that’s the last thing Americans want,” she added.