House Speaker John Boehner is raising the possibility that the Department of Homeland Security may shut down at month's end because of a budget impasse, and he's blaming Senate Democrats if that happens.
Democrats responded by saying responsibility would fall on the Ohio Republican and the country would suffer from the needless closing of a vital part of government.
The department is caught up in a fight over President Barack Obama's immigration actions, with Feb. 27 as the date when the $40 billion budget would shut off.
A House-passed bill would cover the department through Sept. 30, the end of the current budget year, and overturn Obama's move to limit deportations for millions of immigrants who are in the United States illegally.
But in the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has declared a stalemate and urged the House to make the next move. Senate Democrats, while in the minority, have been able to block action on the bill in protest of the Republican language on immigration.
Asked what if the department funding were to run out, Boehner said, "Well, then, Senate Democrats should be to blame. Very simply."