Paul: Let's get a 1-week CR to give us time to negotiate in conference

“When we disagree,” Sen. Rand Paul told CNN’s New Day, “historically we’ve gone to conference committee.” Republicans in the House tried that, and Kate Bouldan tells Paul that Dick Durbin declared that Democrats are open to a conference committee — despite rejecting the offer this morning on a straight party-line vote. Paul suggests that the rhetoric needs to cool on both sides, and that both sides need to provide some give — and that can start with a one- to two-week CR and a conference committee:

“I think what we could do is pass a very short term, maybe not six weeks, but what about one week, so we could negotiate over a week,” the Kentucky Republican told CNN’s “New Day.” “I think a continuing bill to keep the government open while we negotiate is a good idea. I do agree that negotiating with the government closed probably to [Democrats] appears like strong-arm tactics.”

But it does need to be short-term enough “that we are having an active negotiation that we don’t just say we’re going to fund it for three months or two months and come back,” he said.

“I think if we did it for a week or two, we could still continue to negotiate, have a conference committee and really I think the American people do want us to work this out,” Paul said.

“New Day” co-host Kate Bolduan told Paul that his comment “might be the first glimmer of hope I’ve heard all morning.”

In the earlier interview, Durbin told CNN that Democrats might be willing to dump the medical-device tax in a deal, as long as the GOP allowed the revenue to be replaced — by raising taxes elsewhere, presumably:

A repeal of the medical device tax may be a point of compromise between the House and the Senate as the two houses of Congress work to end the government shutdown, the number two Democrat in the Senate said Tuesday.

“We can work on something, I believe, on the medical device tax. That was one of the proposals from Republicans, as long as we replace the revenue,” Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said on CNN’s “New Day.”

That’s probably a non-starter in terms of the actual eventual compromise, but it’s a shift in tone from last night’s “pass a clean CR or else” response from Harry Reid. Republicans could offer more spending cuts that could shift revenue, but that’s probably not going to fly if it’s used to fund ObamaCare through statutory spending rather than discretionary spending, and even more to the point, the GOP isn’t going to agree to anything that boosts ObamaCare, not even a revenue-neutral swap. I’d expect the eventual compromise to come on the elimination of the Congressional exemption, which is even more poisonous for Democrats than the medical-device tax, especially with its tie to Barack Obama via executive fiat.

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