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J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., accompanied by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., right, meets with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015, to talk about his move to disentangle one of two contested immigration measures from the Homeland Security budget and debate the issues separately, as the Senate faces an impasse over provisions attached to the spending bill aimed at blocking President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration.

WASHINGTON — Republican House Speaker John Boehner has a possible escape from the Homeland Security funding impasse if he's willing to use it: cooperative Democrats.

Although not his first choice, Boehner sometimes relies on numerous Democrats to help pass measures many Republicans oppose. They include the January 2013 resolution to the "fiscal cliff" showdown, which 151 House Republicans opposed.

And last year the House raised the federal debt ceiling with 193 Democratic votes and only 28 Republican votes.

The bipartisan strategy carries political risks. A House speaker who defies his party's wishes too often can lose his post.

But Boehner has survived threats before. His record suggests his options aren't as limited as some people suggest.

Republicans want to halt Homeland Security Department funding unless President Barack Obama reverses his deportation policies.