(Bloomberg) -- A government shutdown would slow the pace of replacing weapons stockpiles sent to Ukraine, the Defense Department’s comptroller said, especially if new money for the war against Russia is left out of the ultimate spending package.

Without additional Ukraine funding, the Pentagon has congressional authority to send Ukraine $5 billion more in weapons and equipment from existing stocks but has only $1.6 billion left to issue contracts to industry and replace that equipment, Comptroller Mike McCord said in an interview. 

“We could easily have used that $1.6 billion already,” McCord said in the interview Wednesday afternoon. “We are hoarding it or holding on to it because it is my only thing to make a difference. That’s all I have left since I don’t know if we are going to get this supplemental or when we are going to get this supplemental.” 

The Biden administration in August requested $24 billion in supplemental Ukraine aid, about $13 billion of which is for defense. Additional funding faces opposition from a growing number of House Republicans. The Senate on Tuesday proposed a stopgap funding measure that includes $6 billion for Ukraine. So far, that’s a nonstarter in the House, significantly increasing the chances of a government shutdown this weekend when government funding lapses. 

What to Know About the Looming Government Shutdown: QuickTake

“You want to be refilling the hole and sending that consistent demand signal of funding and contracts to industry to keep those lights going, and that is what we have already had to slow down because we have seen there’s a real prospect of a shutdown,” McCord said of replenishing equipment for Ukraine. “Having to be a little prudent here, we don’t want to be dead broke.” 

Like other federal agencies, the Defense Department typically issues such warnings of a looming crisis when government shutdowns loom or they face the prospect of a continuing resolution that freezes most spending at prior-year levels.

Furloughed Inspectors

Top Pentagon acquisition officials say they are also concerned a shutdown would delay formal acceptance of weapons systems and products because Defense Contract Management Agency inspectors who monitor the process might be furloughed. Contractors wouldn’t receive final payments without formal acceptance, and production lines could backlog, the officials say.

“There can be a misperception that contractors are not affected,” McCord said. 

The Defense Contract Management Agency oversees the disbursement of $1.4 billion a day in contractor payments at 12,208 locations and manages 229,079 contracts, agency spokesman Matthew Montgomery said. “The vast majority of these dollars and contracts would come to a halt if the government shuts down.”

During a shutdown in 2013, contract agents couldn’t sign off on F-35 jet deliveries in Fort Worth, Texas, and aircraft maker Lockheed Martin Corp. had to stop the production line, William LaPlante, the Pentagon’s acquisitions chief, recalled recently.

“A shutdown could halt our munitions production lines, as it did in the 2013 shutdown,” Senator Jack Reed, the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on the floor on Wednesday. “This would be very short-sighted at a time when we are focused on ramping up munitions production for Ukraine and with an eye on the future needs in the Indo-Pacific.” 


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