Jul 18, 2019

Jon Stewart: Rand Paul blocking 9/11 Victim Fund bill is an abomination

Former "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Jon Stewart told Fox News Wednesday it's "outrageous" that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) backed President Trump’s $1.5 trillion tax cuts adding "hundreds of billions of dollars to our deficit" but he voted against 9/11 first responders' funding.

Details: Paul cited national debt concerns when he voted along with Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) against a Senate bill that would extend the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which is running out of money. Stewart said making first responders "beg for something that this country should have done 14 years ago" was "an abomination." 

The other side: Paul's office told Fox News he's "not blocking anything." "He's simply seeking to pay for it," the statement reads, according to host Bret Baier. "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."

  • Lee has "placed a hold on the legislation," a spokesperson told the Washington Post. 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," the spokesperson said.

The big picture: Stewart told Fox News in June first responders were "at the end of their rope" with Congress and that the issue has "never been dealt with compassionately" by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). McConnell pledged to address the issue.

Go deeper: Jon Stewart blasts Congress for "empty" 9/11 victims hearing

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Senate votes to extend 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund through 2092

Jon Stewart, former host of The Daily Show, smiles as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell walks by. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

The Senate voted 97-2 on Tuesday to reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, securing funding for first responders and victims impacted by the toxins at Ground Zero through 2092. Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) were the only senators to vote no.

Why it matters: The fund is set to run out by 2020, affecting approximately 93,000 first responders and survivors still being treated or monitored 19 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The tally of victims after 9/11 will eventually exceed the 2,977 killed on the day of the attacks, according to the New York Daily News.

Go deeperArrowJul 23, 2019

Jon Stewart’s 9/11 victims crusade included lots of Fox News

Jon Stewart holds up the jacket of first responder Ray Pfeifer before testifying at a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee in June. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

The 9/11 first responders will no longer need to swarm Congress every 5 years to extend their benefits, and it's thanks largely to the much-publicized work of Jon Stewart and the lesser-known role of John Feal.

Why it matters: There are 95,320 members enrolled in the World Trade Center Health Program, which was set up to help those with medical conditions linked to the attacks.

Go deeperArrowJul 29, 2019

Mitch McConnell fractures shoulder after falling at Kentucky home

Mitch McConnell: Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has fractured his shoulder after falling at his Kentucky home, his spokesperson said in a statement Sunday. The 77-year-old McConnell has been treated and released from the hospital and is working from his home in Louisville.

The big picture: The injury comes as a number of Democrats and some Republicans have called upon McConnell to cancel the Senate's August recess so that lawmakers can pass gun control legislation in the aftermath of two deadly mass shootings this weekend. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi demanded on Sunday that Senate Republicans put an end to to their "outrageous obstruction," referencing McConnell's refusal to bring two background check bills passed in the House this year for a vote on the Senate floor.