POLITICS: PennAve

Rand Paul suggests Congress break government funding gridlock with conference committee

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If Congress wants to avoid a government shutdown this week, lawmakers will have to drop the ping-pong-style legislative process that has dominated the House-of-representatives">House and Senate">Senate, Sen. Rand Paul said Sunday.

Paul, R-Ky., suggested stalemated lawmakers may be able to work out lingering disagreements in a conference committee in which both sides can negotiate together.

"You could appoint one today and meet tomorrow and hash out the differences," Paul said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "That is the way it is supposed to work. Republicans and Democrats are supposed to find a middle ground. But right now, it is the president saying, 'My way or the highway.'"

Paul has made this recommendation in the past — but, at this juncture, the prospect of such a negotiation is unlikely. Democrats have vowed not consider changes Republicans want to make to the new health care law under the threat of a government shutdown. Some Republicans, meanwhile, would likely move to block a conference committee for fear it would fund the government without making changes to the health care law.

And in light of the House's latest proposal, which would added a one-year delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to a government funding measure, lawmakers agree a shutdown is likely on Tuesday, when current funding runs out.

When asked Sunday if he thought the government would shut down Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., nodded and said, "I am afraid so."

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