Paul objected to a unanimous consent request by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), arguing for an amendment to cut other spending to offset the cost of the 9/11 bill out of concern for the growing national debt.
But Jon Stewart wasn’t buying Paul’s explanation.
“It’s absolutely outrageous,” Stewart said during an interview on Fox News. “And you’ll pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling.”
The former late-night comedian pointed to the Senator’s support for the 2017 Republican tax cut bill to argue Paul wasn’t consistent on his concern for the mounting debt.
“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 community,'” Stewart said.
Watch the video below, via Fox News:
The comedian characterized the bill as a question of “what kind of society we have.”
“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 injuries. And what Rand Paul did today on the Senate was outrageous.”
Paul has defended his decision as not blocking the bill. Despite his objection on Wednesday, the bill is still likely to pass the Senate before August recess. But Gillibrand’s motion would have fast-tracked the bill through the Senate by unanimous consent of her colleagues.
Not blocking the 9/11 bill – simply asking for a vote on an amendment to offset the cost.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 17, 2019
Stewart argued that nearly unanimous agreement about the need to pass the bill should make budgetary concerns secondary to getting funding for the 9/11 first responders.
“Your budgetary priorities are either moved by a moral compass or they’re not,” Stewart said.