White House press secretary Sarah Sanders confirmed Sunday military service members overseas will be able to watch NFL playoff games after the American Forces Network resumed broadcasting, despite the partial federal government shutdown.
"Update: @DeptofDefense has informed us that AFN has been restored in most places. Glad our brave men and women can watch the game today," Sanders tweeted.
Update: @DeptofDefense has informed us that AFN has been restored in most places. Glad our brave men and women can watch the game today. https://t.co/d424r1mBu2— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 21, 2018
Earlier, Sanders shared an image sent to her by "a young infantryman serving in Afghanistan" of a TV screen with the words: "Due to the government shutdown, AFN services are not available."
The Pentagon promised Saturday to look for “creative solutions” to reinstate the network, which provides news, entertainment, sports and command information to military personnel, after it went dark following Congress' failure to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution to fund the government.
Several disgruntled military members complained privately to the Washington Examiner there was no apparent reason to end broadcasts because operations are largely run by uniformed staff, who are still at work during the shutdown.
But Department of Defense chief spokeswoman Dana White explained Sunday that two of AFN's eight channels will remain on, despite programming relying on civilian employees who were furloughed.
"Thanks to uniform leadership at AFN, our comptroller and legal team, we were able to turn on one channel based on operational necessity and FY17 funds had already been paid on the contract," she said. "The sports channel was turned on because it doesn't cost any more money or manpower to manage a second channel."
White implored Congress resolve spending negotiations "and pass a budget soon."