Jon Stewart and 9/11 first responder John Feal were on Special Report With Brett Baier Wednesday, where they blasted Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee for delaying a vote to fast track a bill that extends the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for the next 70 years. Stewart told Baier, “It’s absolutely outrageous and pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling.” Stewart was referencing Paul’s explanation for delaying the vote where he pointed to the country’s national debt for his objection, arguing that any new spending needed to be offset by cuts. Stewart continued on to say, “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 are going to balance the budget on the backs of the 9/11 first responder community.”
The bill was thrust into the national spotlight last month after Stewart, a long-time advocate for 9/11 first responders, delivered an impassioned speech on Capitol Hill, calling out lawmakers for not attending the hearing and their lack of urgency. While speaking with Baier about Wednesday’s delay, the comedian echoed similar frustrations with Congress, “At some point, we have to stand up for the people who have always stood up for us. And at this moment in time, maybe cannot stand up for themselves due to their illnesses and their injuries.”
A spokesperson for Sen. Paul offered a statement to Fox News, “Sen. Paul is not blocking anything. He is simply seeking to pay for it. As with any bill, Sen. Paul always believes it needs to be paid for. Sen. Paul is simply offering an amendment, which other senators support, to pay for this legislation.” To which first responder Feal responded to Baier with, “Sen. Paul and Sen. Lee are opportunists, they are bottom feeders and any statement that they come out with doesn’t hold water with me. You can’t cherry pick and choose when you want to be a conservative fiscal hawk. If that’s just insulting to our intelligence and shame on them.”
Last month, Feal and other first responders, including the recently deceased Luis Alvarez, traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss the bill in a private meeting with Senate Majority Mitch McConnell. After that meeting, Feal and the other responders were optimistic the bill would go to a vote in August, and despite Paul and Lee’s delay, he’s still optimistic the bill will go to a vote, “What people see as a major defeat today is a minor setback and it’s just going to propel us to a bigger win and we are confident that after meeting with Mitch McConnell, that he’s kept his word and he’s working diligently to get this bill on the floor for a straight up-and-down vote.“
Special Report Brett Baier airs Weeknights at 6 p.m. on Fox News.
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