Jon Stewart and 9/11 first responder John Feal lambasted Republican Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Mike Lee (Utah) during a Fox News appearance for blocking the passage of a bill that would extend funding for the Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund on Wednesday.
The fund, which is set to stop taking claims after December 2020, would be funded to cover medical expenses for 9/11 first responders and volunteers through 2090 if the bill passes and is signed into law.
"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," Stewart said on "Special Report with Bret Baier." "And what Rand Paul did today on the floor of the Senate was outrageous."
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) called for the bill to be approved by unanimous consent Wednesday, but that move was blocked when Paul objected over concerns about how the bill would be paid for.
The bill is expected to cost more than $10 billion during the first decade, and Paul wanted to add a provision to fund the bill, saying "any new spending … should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable."
Lee raised concerns about oversight of the fund to prevent fraud and abuse.
Paul said in a statement that he did not intend to block the bill, but he was "simply seeking to pay for it."
Stewart and Feal were appalled by what they felt was selective fiscal responsibility by the senators.
"[Paul] is a guy who put us in hundreds of billions of dollars in debt," Stewart said, referencing Paul's vote in favor of President Donald Trump's tax reform. "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? You know, there are some things that 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 we've got to go through this."
Feal, although angered by what Paul and Lee did, remained confident that the bill would pass when it got to the floor for a straight vote.
"When we get this bill passed, we beat them again and we are going to walk out and we're going to hold our chins up high and our chests out, and we're going to say we beat Rand Paul and Mike Lee," Feal said.
Jon Stewart rips Rand Paul's 'virtue signaling' in blocking 9/11 victim fund youtu.be