CBS host Bob Schieffer on Sunday was forced to explain to Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) that his plan to keep the government from shutting down in the next 48 hours would not work because he had a simplistic view about the way Congress functioned.
With a government shutdown looming, Schieffer pointed out that President Barack Obama would never sign a continuing resolution that defunded or delayed his heath care reform law as Republicans were insisting.
"Is there a third way, is there some way to prevent the government from having to shut down and putting 800,000 federal workers on furlough?" the CBS host wondered. "These are people, many of whom work by the hour, they need the money. This is really going to hurt them."
"I think there is a way," Paul insisted. "And I've been saying all along that we should negotiate. See historically, Bob, the way it worked is if the House was Republican and passed something and the Senate was Democrat and passed something, you had a conference committee -- equal number of Republicans and Democrats -- and you hashed out your differences."
"Why don't we have a conference committee on this?" he continued. "You could appoint one today. They could meet tomorrow and hash out the differences. That's the way it's supposed to work. Republicans and Democrats are supposed to find a middle ground. But right now, it's the president saying, 'my way or the highway, if I don't get everything I want, if I don't get Obamacare that Democrats passed without any Republican support,' the Democrats are saying they are willing to shut down the government."
"But you know, Senator, with all due respect," Schieffer interrupted. "It's a little more complicated that that. Because you've got, not just Republicans versus Democrats, you've got Republicans versus Republicans. You've got House Republicans versus Senate Republicans versus. You've got Republican Senator Ted Cruz, whose advising House Republicans to go against their own leadership in the House."
"So, it's going to take more than a conference committee," he added. "I mean, you'd have to set up 15 or 20 committees to try resolve all the controversies that are going on right now. I mean, do you disagree with that?"
"Well, I didn't say it was going to be easy," Paul admitted. "But I would say that that's the way you're supposed to hash it out."
The call to send the continuing resolution to conference committee is unusual because House Speaker John Boehner has ignored Democrats' calls to appoint conferees since at least April.
But complications of Republican infighting and demands to defund or delay the Affordable Care Act mean that it would be almost impossible to get a continuing resolution through a conference committee before the government shutdown begins at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday.