Washington (CNN) – Sen. Lindsey Graham grew furious Wednesday after Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Senate committee the government shutdown "seriously damages" national security.
The South Carolina Republican blasted his fellow members of Congress for failing to reach a deal to end the shutdown, but he took particular aim at President Barack Obama.
"I think it's irresponsible for all of us to let it continue," he said. "But where the hell is the commander in chief?"
[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker'] [twitter-follow screen_name='KilloughCNN']
Clapper told the Senate Judiciary Committee that 70% of the intelligence community is being furloughed as a result of the shutdown, interfering with the government's ability to support the military, diplomats and policy makers.
Clapper said the law requires them to define "essential" employees as those who are "necessary to protect against imminent threat, imminent threat to life or property."
"The danger here, of course, is that this will accumulate over time. The damage will be insidious. So each day that goes by, the jeopardy increases," he continued.
Clapper said he shared the same information with the president.
If that's the case, Graham continued, then "why aren't the members of the House and the Senate in the White House right now to try to solve this problem?"
Just minutes before Graham asked the question, the White House announced the president had invited congressional leaders for a meeting late Wednesday afternoon.
The senator went on to argue there was a "huge difference" between shutdowns before and after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
"And for the president of the United States, for our House Democrats to not negotiate is irresponsible. For our Republican Party, not to try to find a way to end this mess is irresponsible," he said.
- CNN's Josh Levs contributed to this report.