Washington (CNN)A Washington fight over immigration is poised to cut off funding for the Department of Homeland Security and leave border agents, TSA screeners and tens of thousands of other federal workers charged with keeping the homeland safe working without pay until Congress gets its act together.
DHS moved closer to running out of money Friday after the House rejected a bill that would have kept the agency open for three more weeks. Unless another deal is reached by midnight, DHS will fall into a partial shutdown.
The House vote was a shocking twist to a dramatic day on Capitol Hill. For most of the day, lawmakers seemed poised to avoid a partial shutdown. The House cleared a procedural hurdle earlier in the day, indicating that final passage of the bill shouldn't be in doubt.
But when the legislation came to the floor, dozens of Republicans voted against it because the legislation doesn't address President Barack Obama's immigration orders. They were joined by nearly all Democrats, who opposed the measure because it doesn't keep DHS open through the end of the fiscal year.
The battle over DHS funding comes more than 16 months after political chaos tipped the entire government into a shutdown. Republicans bore the brunt of the public's blame for that episode and polls indicate the party could be in for a sequel.
A CNN poll last week found 53% of Americans would blame Republicans in Congress if the department shuts down, while 30% would blame President Barack Obama. Another 13% said both would deserve the blame.
The temporary 3-week funding bill failed 203-224. Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told members to stay through Friday night and through the weekend as GOP leadership considers next move.
House Speaker John Boehner has been here before — wedged between his hard-right flank and the Senate. House conservatives want to continue fighting to block Obama's actions on immigration and want to go to conference to work out differences between the House GOP bill and the Senate Bill passed bill earlier Friday.
How he handles the looming showdown could dictate the rest of his speakership, as House conservatives warn compromising now means he's effectively allowing Democrats to block GOP agenda for the next two years. Doing something that angers his right flank could again raise questions about his ability to lead the Republican conference.