Jon Stewart Calls Out Rand Paul for "Outrageous" Stance Against 9/11 Fund Bill

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Jon Stewart

Stewart, appearing with a 9/11 first responder on Fox News, suggested the Republican senator was picking and choosing when to exercise fiscal frugality.

Jon Stewart is speaking out against Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's opposition to fast-tracking the bill funding a 9/11 victims' compensation fund, calling the Republican lawmaker's decision "outrageous."

"It's absolutely outrageous, and you'll pardon me if I'm not impressed in any way by Rand Paul's fiscal responsibility virtue-signaling," the former Daily Show host told Bret Baier during an appearance with 9/11 first responder John Feal on Fox News on Wednesday. "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, now we're going to balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder communities."

The new bill, an extension of the September 11th Victims' Compensation Fund, would funnel payment into the compensation fund for seven decades, which is estimated to cost $10.4 billion. After Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) placed a procedural hold on the bill, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) requested unanimous consent, which would allow the bill to skip several steps before being passed. Paul, however, stopped the bill from being passed unanimously on Wednesday.

On Fox News, Stewart attacked Paul's legislative record: "He is a guy who put us in hundreds of billions of dollars of debt, he was the 51st vote on that cut, 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?" he said. "There are some things 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, 'Man, we gotta go through this.'"

Stewart added that the program has been running for five years, and that a special paymaster testified in front of Congress that there had been no fraud, waste or abuse in that time.

In a comment to Fox News, Paul's office responded, "Senator Paul is not seeking to block anything. He is simply seeking to pay for it. As with any bill, Senator Paul always believes it needs to be paid for. Senator Paul is simply offering an amendment, which other senators support, to pay for this legislation."

Stewart's appearance followed an emotional testimony he gave before Congress about the compensation fund in June. At the time, the comedian scolded politicians for lack of attendance at a hearing on the bill setting up continued funding. The poor attendance, in front of sick first responders and their families, was "an embarrassment to the country and a stain on this institution."

On Fox News, Feal said of the failed unanimous-consent vote Wednesday, "Look, Sen. Paul and Sen. Lee are opportunists, they're bottom-feeders and any statement that they come out with doesn't hold water with me. You can't pick and choose when you want to be a conservative fiscal hawk. That's just insulting to our intelligence. And shame on them: They lack humanity, they lack leadership." He finished by calling Lee a "liar" because he says first responders met with Lee months ago and he said he wouldn't block the bill. 

Added Stewart, "Budgetary priorities are either moved by a moral compass, or they're not, and this is an outrageous place for them to take a stand and cause, once again, pain and heartache and suffering within a community that has felt that so much within these last few years."