Boehner can't rule out Homeland Security Department shutdown

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Boehner can't rule out Homeland Security Department shutdown
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UNITED STATES - MARCH 3: Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, walks back to his office after leaving the House floor on Tuesday, March 3, 2015. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 03: Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, left, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, president pro tempore of the Senate, are pictured in the House chamber before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to a joint meeting of Congress, March 3, 2015. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio walks to the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, as the House votes on funding for the Homeland Security Department without provisions attached to counter President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. Despite holding the majority in the Senate and the House, Republicans were unable to overcome united opposition from Senate Democrats to the GOP strategy of trying to overturn Obama's immigration plan by linking them to funding for Homeland. They also suffered embarrassing internal divisions that left the country within hours of a partial agency shutdown last week. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 12: Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) holds his weekly news conference in the Capitol Visitors Center at the U.S. Captiol February 12, 2015 in Washington, DC. Boehner said that President Barack Obama's request for the autorization of the use of military force against the terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State does not go far enough in outlining a path for war against global terrorism. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Rules Committee member Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., center, and newly elected Rep. Barbara Comstock R-Va., right, says the House will vote today to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, following a GOP strategy session at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Rules Committee member Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., center, and newly elected Rep. Barbara Comstock R-Va., right, says the House will vote today to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, following a GOP strategy session at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, pauses at a news conference before announcing that the House plans to vote today to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, following a GOP strategy session at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. Boehner also reacted to President Barack Obama's budget proposals that arrived in Congress yesterday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by House Rules Committee member Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., center, and newly elected Rep. Barbara Comstock R-Va., right, says the House will vote today to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, following a GOP strategy session at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio gives the keynote address at the DC National School Choice Week Celebration event, Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., right, arrives at a news conference to announce that the House plans to vote today to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, following a GOP strategy session at Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. Boehner also reacted to President Barack Obama's budget proposals that arrived in Congress yesterday. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, acknowledges that there have been "a couple of stumbles" in the opening weeks of the new Republican-run Congress, as he and GOP leaders meet with reporters following a strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. Boehner says House Republicans wanted to get off to a fast start this year and so they moved bills quickly. Last week GOP leaders were forced to water down an abortion bill after criticism from Republican women and others, and this week leaders delayed action on a border security bill amid conservative opposition. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, joined by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., far left, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., departs a news conference after acknowledging that there've been "a couple of stumbles" in the opening weeks of the new Republican-run Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. Boehner says House Republicans wanted to get off to a fast start this year and so they moved bills quickly. Last week GOP leaders were forced to water down an abortion bill after criticism from Republican women and others, and this week leaders delayed action on a border security bill amid conservative opposition. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Barack Obama pauses during his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listen. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Barack Obama greets House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Vice President Joe Bien on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015, before his State of the Union address before a joint session of Congress . (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio walks from the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, as lawmakers vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security but will curb President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio walks to his office on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, as lawmakers vote to fund the Department of Homeland Security but will curb President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
President Barack Obama, accompanied by, from left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, speaks to media during a meeting with bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss a wide range of issues, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Before heading to the White House today to meet with President Barack Obama, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, tells reporters that the House of Representatives will pass a budget for the Department of Homeland Security but will block President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Obama has repeatedly threatened to veto bills that Republicans have put forward as their priorities. Senate and House Republicans, now in control of Congress, will leave Washington Thursday for a two-day policy retreat in Hershey, Pa. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listens at left as President Barack Obama speaks to media as he meets with bipartisan, bicameral leadership of Congress to discuss a wide range of issues, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Before heading to the White House today to meet with President Barack Obama, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, tells reporters that the House of Representatives will pass a budget for the Department of Homeland Security but will block President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015. Obama has repeatedly threatened to veto bills that Republicans have put forward as their priorities. Senate and House Republicans, now in control of Congress, will leave Washington Thursday for a two-day policy retreat in Hershey, Pa. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio takes questions from reporters during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks to reporters following a House GOP caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. From left are, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kansas, House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La., Rep. Todd Young, R-Ind., Boehner, and Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D. Boehner said his had a "family conversation" about how to respond to the 25 conservatives who revolted and voted against him on the floor for his re-election as speaker on Tuesday. Two GOP conservatives were kicked off the Rules Committee earlier, Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Fla., who challenged Boehner for speaker, and Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Fla., who voted for Webster. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, kisses House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. after being re-elected to a third term during the opening session of the 114th Congress, as Republicans assume full control for the first time in eight years, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais )
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio administers a ceremonial re-enactment of the House oath-of-office to Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio administers a re-enactment of the House oath to Rep. Edward Rigell, R-Va., during a ceremonial re-enactment swearing-in ceremony, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015, in the Rayburn Room on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, joined by, from second from left, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Calif., and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of La. speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) delivers remarks to the news media after the weekly House GOP conference meeting at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill February 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Republican leaders said they are planning a vote next week on the Senate's version of the legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline project. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) (R) listens to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) during a news conference following the weekly House GOP conference meeting at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill February 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Republican leaders said they are planning a vote next week on the Senate's version of the legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline project. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 03: (L-R) U.S. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA) hold a news conference following the weekly House GOP conference meeting at the Republican National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill February 3, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Republican leaders said they are planning a vote next week on the Senate's version of the legislation approving the Keystone XL pipeline project. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 27: Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, conducts a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol, January 27, 2015. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., also appear. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker John Boehner left open the possibility Thursday of a potential shutdown at the Department of Homeland Security because of a congressional impasse over immigration.

He said a shutdown "would be bad," but that Senate Democrats would be to blame if the department's $40 billion budget were to lapse in late February.

"The House has done its job. We've spoken. And now it's up to the Senate to do their job," the Ohio Republican said. "If funding for Homeland Security lapses, Washington Democrats are gonna bear the responsibility."

The House has passed a bill that funds the department through September, when the current budget year ends, while also overturning President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.

Senate Democrats have blocked debate on the bill because they oppose the immigration provisions, which limited deportations for millions of people in the United States illegally and made them eligible for work permits.

In the past Boehner has said the House strategy would avoid the threat of a government shutdown, an assurance he did not repeat under questioning from reporters Thursday.

The way out of the stalemate is uncertain, with funding for the agency set to run out Feb. 27 without congressional action. Even if that happened, most department workers would stay on the job because they are deemed essential at agencies including the Secret Service and Border Patrol. But most would go without pay and some 30,000 workers would be furloughed.

One possible outcome is a short-term extension of current funding levels.

For now the Republican strategy, at least in public, amounts to blaming Senate Democrats for blocking their legislation. Republicans now hold majorities in both the House and Senate for the first time in eight years, but to their frustration Senate Democrats are still able to exert great influence because of rules giving significant rights to the minority party.

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