'They lack humanity': Jon Stewart and 9/11 first responders excoriate GOP senators who blocked renewal of funding for 9/11 victims

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  • Comedian Jon Stewart and 9/11 first responders are slamming the two Republican Senators who blocked swift passage of a bill to permanently renew the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
  • On Wednesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand attempted to invoke unanimous consent to pass the bill through the Senate, but was blocked by Sen. Rand Paul.
  • "We have a $22 trillion debt; we're adding debt at about $1 trillion a year," Paul said. "Therefore, any new spending that we are approaching ... should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable."
  • Stewart appeared on Fox News Wednesday night along with 9/11 first responder John Feal, who called the Senators "hypocrites" and "opportunists" for blocking the 9/11 funding while voting for a blockbuster tax cut.
  • "It is absolutely outrageous, and you pardon me, if I'm not impressed in any way by Rand Paul's fiscal responsibility virtue signaling," Stewart said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Comedian Jon Stewart and 9/11 first responders are slamming the two Republican senators who blocked swift passage of a bill to permanently renew the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund just weeks before Congress goes out session as "hypocrites" and "opportunists."

The bill, which the House of Representatives passed 402-12 on July 12, extends permanent funding until 2090 to compensate and fund healthcare for the the survivors and first responders who were injured by the attacks on September 11, 2001.

On Wednesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand attempted to invoke unanimous consent to pass the bill through the Senate, but was blocked by Sen. Rand Paul, who objected and blocked unanimous consent for the bill, citing concerns over the national debt.

"It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in this country. We have a $22 trillion debt; we're adding debt at about $1 trillion a year," Paul said."Therefore, any new spending that we are approaching that has the longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable."

Sen. Mike Lee of Utah also took a measure to place "a hold" on the legislation until more funding is secured for the bill, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Read more: Sen. Rand Paul cited the national debt in blocking expedited passage of a bill to renew the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

Stewart, who has long advocated for benefits for 9/11 first responders, appeared on Fox News Wednesday night along with 9/11 first responder John Feal - who has been doggedly lobbying GOP Senators including Paul and Lee to renew the bill - to take the senators to task over their blocking of the legislation.

"It is absolutely outrageous, and you pardon me, if I'm not impressed in any way by Rand Paul's fiscal responsibility virtue signaling. Rand Paul presented tissue paper avoidance of the $1.5 trillion tax cut that added on hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit," Stewart said, referring to Paul's vote in favor of a block-bluster tax cut in 2018.

Both on Fox and in a Thursday morning appearance on CNN's "New Day," Feal blasted the Senators as 'hypocrites."

"Senator Paul and Senator Lee are opportunists, they are bottom feeders, and any statement that they come out with doesn't hold water with me," Feal said to Fox's Bret Baier. "You can't cherry-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 and they lack leadership."

Read more: 'You're not good at this argument thing': Jon Stewart fires back at Mitch McConnell for downplaying his impassioned efforts to help 9/11 victims

For his part, Paul tweeted that he was "not blocking the 9/11 bill - simply asking for a vote on an amendment to offset the cost."

A spokesperson for Lee told the Post that the senator "fully expects the 9/11 compensation bill to pass before the August recess and he is seeking a vote to ensure the fund has the proper oversight in place to prevent fraud and abuse."

Neither Stewart or Feal were satisfied with their explanations, with Stewart pointing to government officials previously testifying to no discernible fraud and abuse of the program.

"We don't beg for anything anymore, they work for us," Feal said of the Senators on CNN. "They should be begging for forgiveness for being a**holes for the last 15 years, excuse my language."

Read more:

House approves bill to ensure 9/11 victims fund never runs out of money

Luis Alvarez, NYPD detective who testified for healthcare for 9/11 first responders, has died at 53

Jon Stewart's powerful 9/11 monologue from 2001 is going viral again after he slammed Congress for failing to help first responders

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