The Pentagon has released an outline of how it will operate after Sept. 30 if Congress isn’t able to pass a new funding agreement.
“The department will continue to defend the nation and conduct ongoing military operations,” the Pentagon said in a planning document. “It will continue activities funded with any available budgetary resources that have not lapsed, as well as excepted activities such as those necessary for the safety of human life and the protection of property.”
The threat of a shutdown looms as a group of hard-line House Republicans continue to block the chamber from advancing spending bills. Five members opposed a procedural vote to advance a Pentagon appropriations bill Tuesday, sinking the legislation.
Hours earlier, House GOP leadership had scrapped plans to vote on advancing a partisan proposal for a stopgap funding bill amid opposition from the right flank.
Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said in a news briefing last month it is difficult for the Defense Department to plan without the certainty of funding.
“We are, of course, hopeful that Congress can reach a funding agreement before the end of the (fiscal) year,” he said. “We do need predictable, adequate and sustained and timely funding.”
While a government shutdown could halt paychecks to troops, a Pentagon official told Stars and Stripes they would receive backpay once it ends.
Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, recently said at a conference hosted by Defense News that the military could be one of the hardest-hit institutions.
“Basically, if we don’t pass a CR (continuing resolution) and the government shuts down on Oct. 1, troops literally don’t know when they’re going to get paid again,” Smith said at the conference. “We can say, ‘Look, this has happened in the past, and we will take care of you, trust us.’ But …. 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.”
Anger is growing within the Republican conference over the holdouts.
Moderate Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., told The Hill on Wednesday, “They failed us, they failed the conservative cause.”
The Hill contributed to this report.