A budget-busting veterans hospital in Denver is mired in an embarrassing scandal as the VA struggles to persuade skeptical lawmakers to keep the money flowing.

The half-finished hospital faces a $1 billion cost overrun. The Veterans Affairs Department says it will run out of money and construction will stop next week unless Congress raises the $800 million spending cap by Sunday.

The contractor says that could delay the project by as much as a year and raise the total cost beyond the current $1.73 billion estimate.

The VA offered to trim the project by $53 million in hopes Congress would approve a short-term deal to keep work moving.

House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) has balked, saying the VA should come up with a longer-term plan to finish the project.