Jon Stewart rips into Rand Paul after he blocks 9/11 victim compensation fund: 'An abomination'

Comedian Jon Stewart on Wednesday strongly condemned Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - A huge win for Biden, centrist senators Only two people cited by TSA for mask violations have agreed to pay fine Senators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill MORE (R-Ky.) after he and another GOP senator objected to legislation to extend the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund, saying that Paul's "virtue signaling" was "outrageous."

"It's absolutely outrageous. Pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling," Stewart said on Fox News while appearing alongside 9/11 first responder John Feal. 

The comments from Stewart came just hours after Paul objected to Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandTreat broadband as infrastructure and we have a chance to get it right House panel looks to help military sexual assault survivors To make energy green, remove red tape MORE's (D-N.Y.) attempt to get the upper chamber to pass a House-passed bill that would reauthorize the funding through fiscal 2090 by unanimous consent. 

Paul, citing the United States' growing debt, objected, arguing that any new spending needed to be offset by cuts.

Stewart, who has been a longtime advocate for extending the fund, rejected Paul's contention, saying the Kentucky senator supported President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE's tax cuts that “added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit."

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"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," Stewart said. 

He went on to argue that this legislation was about "what kind of society we have."

“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," Stewart continued. “He is a guy who put us in hundreds of billions of dollars in debt."

"And now he’s going to tell us that a billion dollars a year over 10 years is just too much for us to handle? You know, there are some things that they have no trouble putting on the credit card, but somehow when it comes to the 9/11 first responder community — the cops, the firefighters, the construction workers, the volunteers, the survivors — all of a sudden we’ve got to go through this.” 

He later criticized lawmakers for making first responders "beg for something that this country should have done 14 years ago," calling it "an abomination." 

While objecting to the fund's extension, Paul said from the Senate floor that new spending "should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable."

He added that he would offer an amendment to the House bill if it is brought up for a vote in the Senate. 

A spokesperson for Paul told The Hill that Paul "is not blocking anything."
 
He is "simply seeking to pay for it," the spokesperson said. Sen Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeBiden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet House GOP stages mask mandate protest 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE (R-Utah) also objected to passing the legislation without a vote, his communications director, Conn Carroll, said to CNN.

Current compensation for 9/11 first responders will likely run out this year without new legislation. The new measure would expand compensation for first responders through 2090.