First responder swipes at Rand Paul, Mike Lee after Senate passes 9/11 victims fund extension

John Feal, a 9/11 first responder, called out GOP Sens. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulTrump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans Democratic congressman calls for study of effects of sex-trafficking law McConnell says he's 'honored' to be WholeFoods Magazine's 2019 'Person of the Year' MORE (Ky.) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Pelosi works to remove legal protections for tech companies from USMCA | Treasury sanctions Russian group over 0 million hack | Facebook sues Chinese individuals for ad fraud | Huawei takes legal action against FCC Senators defend bipartisan bill on facial recognition as cities crack down Trump's legal team huddles with Senate Republicans MORE (Utah) on Tuesday after the Senate passed legislation to extend the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

"As for Rand Paul and Mike Lee, told you so. We whipped your asses," Feal, who was injured while responding to the 2001 attacks, said during a press conference on Capitol Hill celebrating the bill's passage.

Paul and Lee were the only senators to vote against the legislation, which would extend the fund through fiscal 2090. The measure now heads to the White House. 

Applause broke out in the upper chamber Tuesday afternoon as senators cheered the passage of legislation to support individuals who responded to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

But Feal said he had mixed emotions.

"Passing this legislation, there’s no joy," Feal said. "There’s no comfort. Yes, I cried with Jon [Stewart]. But that was to exhale. That was to get 18 years of pain and suffering out, and I believe it’s out."


Feal and Stewart, the former "Daily Show" host who has been an advocate for the legislation for years, have pushed for the fund's extension in recent months by pressuring lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

After Paul and Lee objected to Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandWhite House, Congress near deal to give 12 weeks paid parental leave to all federal workers Bloomberg on 2020 rivals blasting him for using his own money: 'They had a chance to go out and make a lot of money' Harris posts video asking baby if she'll run for president one day MORE's (D-N.Y.) attempt to pass the legislation by unanimous consent last week, Feal called the two GOP senators "assholes."

"It's the usual suspects. But they're hypocrites at best. ... Not only are they hypocrites. They're bottom feeders. They're opportunists," Feal said on CNN. "They should be begging for forgiveness for being assholes for the last 15 years."

Paul, citing the United States's growing debt, has argued that any new spending needed to be offset by cuts. He and Lee offered amendments to the new bill hoping to address those issues. Both of the amendments were voted down.

"While I support our heroic first responders, I can’t in good conscience vote for legislation which to my dismay remains unfunded. We have a nearly trillion dollar deficit and $22 trillion in debt. Spending is out of control," Paul tweeted after the vote.

Asked to comment, Lee’s office referred The Hill to a statement the senator made last week. 

“Since 2011, the 9/11 Victims Fund has always had finite authorizations, and by all accounts it has an excellent record avoiding waste and abuse,” Lee said at the time. “These two things are not coincidental. They go together.”

Paul's office did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

—Updated at 5:50 p.m.