Former Daily Show host Jon Stewart slammed Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) over his decision to block healthcare and compensation funding for 9/11 first responders on the grounds of fiscal responsibility, describing it as “virtue signaling” and an “abomination.”
Having already passed through the House, Paul objected to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) request for unanimous consent of the Senate, a procedural move that would have allowed the bill to skip several steps to pass unanimously so that it would be accelerated to a vote without debate.
“It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in this country — we have a $22 trillion debt, we’re adding debt at about a trillion dollars a year,” Paul said. “And therefore any new spending that we are approaching, any new program that’s going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years, should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable.”
“We need to at the very least have this debate. I will be offering up an amendment if this bill should come to the floor, but until then I will object,” he continued.
Jon Stewart, who last month gave an emotional testimony to Congress urging them to approve the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, slammed Paul’s objection during an interview on Fox News, describing it as an “abomination.”
“It’s absolutely outrageous. Pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling,” Stewart said, alongside 9/11 first responder John Feal. “Now he stands up at the last minute, after 15 years of blood sweat and tears from the 9/11 community to say that it’s all over now. Now we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community.”
Current compensation for 9/11 responders will run out at the end of this year unless new legislation is passed, while the new legislation would guarantee it for the next 70 years.
“At some point, we have to stand up for the people who have always stood up for us, and at this moment in time maybe cannot stand up for themselves due to their illnesses and their injuries. And what Rand Paul did today in the Senate was outrageous,” continued. “He is a guy who put us in hundreds of billions of dollars in debt.”