Boehner leaves open possibility of Homeland Security Department shutdown, blames Democrats

House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nuhr) is refusing to rule out a potential shutdown at the Department of Homeland Security because of a congressional impasse over funding.

Boehner says Senate Democrats would be to blame if the department's $40 billion budget lapses in late February.

When questioned by reporters on Thursday, the Ohio Republican refused to repeat past assurances that the department would stay open.

Boehner says a shutdown would be bad. But he says the House has done its job by passing a bill that keeps the agency running while also overturning President Barack Obama's executive policies on immigration.

Senate Democrats have blocked that bill because they oppose the immigration language.

The way forward is uncertain, though it could end with a short-term budget extension.