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Jon Stewart Tees Off on Rand Paul for Blocking 9/11 Victim Bill

“This is about what kind of society we want to have,” said the former Daily Show host. “At some point we have to stand up for the people who have always stood up for us”

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 11: Former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill on June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. The fund provides financial assistance to responders, victims and their families who require medical care related to health issues they suffered in the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks. (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart testifies during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund on Capitol Hill on June 11, 2019 in Washington, DC. The fund provides financial assistance to responders, victims and their families who require medical care related to health issues they suffered in the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

On Wednesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) blocked an effort to unanimously pass a bill to reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. Jon Stewart was not happy.

“Pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling,” a visibly disgusted Stewart told Bret Baier on Fox News Wednesday night. “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 now we’re going to balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community.”

The former Daily Show host has long pressured Congress to reauthorize the fund, which offers compensation to 9/11 survivors and first responders who have filed claims relating to various health problems they have experienced as a result of the attacks, and is set to expire in 2020. Last month, he delivered an emotional appeal to the House Judiciary Committee to deliver an emotional appeal to the House Judiciary Committee. “They responded in five seconds,” he said of the first responders, a group of which accompanied Stewart to Capitol Hill. “They did their jobs, with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later — do yours!”

The House of Representatives passed the bill to reauthorize the fund last week. It’s expected to eventually pass in the Senate, as well, but it will take an additional bit of maneuvering thanks to Paul’s objection on Wednesday.

Paul says he wants the aid funding for the victims to be offset with cuts in spending elsewhere. But the senator, as Stewart noted, did not apply his balanced-budget requirement when he voted to support tax cuts — disproportionately for corporations and the wealthy — that are projected to add more than $1 trillion to the deficit over a decade.

“This is about what kind of society we want to have,” Stewart told Baier on Wednesday. “At some point we have to stand up for the people who have always stood up for us, and who at this moment in time maybe cannot stand up for themselves due to their illnesses and their injuries. What Rand Paul did today in the Senate is outrageous.”

 

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