After slamming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell last month, Jon Stewart has now targeted Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.
Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show” and an outspoken activist for 9/11 first responders, called it “absolutely outrageous” Paul blocked approval of the longstanding 9/11 victims fund bill.
“Pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling,” Stewart said in an interview with Bret Baier of Fox News.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, tried to unanimously pass the bill Wednesday. It takes just one senator to block a voice vote. The bill provides health benefits to those who responded to 9/11 attack scenes, many of whom are sick as a result. The price is about $10.2 billion over 10 years.
Paul said on the Senate floor Wednesday the country’s massive debt needs to be addressed and the bill should not be passed without an amendment to offset the cost. Gillibrand told Paul he was playing “political games.”
The Kentucky Republican senator previously supported President Donald Trump’s tax cut bill, which Stewart claimed Wednesday night would add billions to the national deficit. .
“Rand Paul presented tissue paper avoidance of the $1.5 trillion tax cut that added hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit and 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 and we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community,” Stewart said Wednesday.
The bill cleared the House 402-12 last week and Gillibrand told reporters she has the votes to pass it on the Senate.
Stewart went after McConnell last month for failing to call a vote on the bill. The Senate Majority Leader said Stewart was “bent out of shape” about the legislation. Stewart responded by telling the majority leader, “I am out of shape, but not because of you. I’m fine. I’m bent out of shape for them. These are the first heroes and veterans and victims of the great trillions of dollars war on terror. And they’re currently still suffering and dying and still in terrible need.”
Prior to aiming at McConnell, Stewart delivered an emotional plea to the House committee about the 9/11 fund. With the bill thwarted by Paul Wednesday, Stewart called it “an abomination” the first responders have to beg for aid once again.
“There is some things that they have no trouble putting on the credit card, but somehow when it comes to the 9/11 first responders community — the cops, the firefighters, the construction workers, the volunteers, the survivors — all of a sudden we have to go through this,” he said on Fox News.
McConnell reacted to Stewart’s remarks by stating his optimism about the bill passing.
“Well I think short answer is we are going to pass – we’re going to pass the 9/11 Emergency Bill,” he said. “We always deal with this tragedy, and we will do that and we will do it shortly.”