WASHINGTON (Reuters) - John Boehner, the Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, said he is willing to let funding for the Department of Homeland Security lapse as part of a Republican push to roll back President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.
"Senate Democrats are the ones standing in the way. They’re the ones jeopardizing funding," Boehner told the "Fox News Sunday" program. Asked if he was prepared to let financing for the department lapse, he said, "Certainly. The House has acted. We’ve done our job."
With a Feb. 27 deadline near for funding the department, more than 40 Senate Democrats have voted three times this month to block consideration of the Homeland Security appropriations bill, which has already been approved by the House.
House Republicans have written their version of the bill so that it also blocks Obama's actions on immigration.
The Democrats want to fund the department but oppose House amendments that strip funding from Obama's executive orders in 2012 and 2014. Those orders lift the threat of deportation for millions of illegal immigrants.
"The House has acted to de-fund the department and to stop the president’s overreach when it comes to immigration and his executive orders," Boehner said. "... And the Congress just can’t sit by and let the president defy the Constitution and defy his own his oath of office."
Obama has threatened to veto the House-passed measure, and Democrats are insisting on a "clean" funding bill with no immigration restrictions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, said last week the Senate was "stuck" and that the next move was up to the House.
Boehner said that Senate Democrats should be blamed if the department funding lapse. Republicans hold the majority in both the House and Senate. But in the Senate they control just 54 seats, and 60 votes are needed to clear procedural hurdles.
(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Frances Kerry)