Two lawmakers placed a controversial and unpopular vote on Tuesday, voting against a measure to ensure that that the fund allocated to help the victims and first responders who had their health impacted by 9/11 never runs out of money.
Rand Paul (R-KY) said that due to his conservative fiscal beliefs, he could not “in good conscience” vote to pass it. He defended his stance in a tweet, saying that the deficit and debt of the US should come before the 9/11 victims and first responders.
The Senate, however, overwhelmingly did not agree. It approved the money for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, extending it until 2090. It passed by a 97-2 vote. The only two senators to oppose it were Paul and Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah.
The fund is meant to help first responders and others whose health was negatively impacted for the rest of their lives following the terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Estimates from the Congressional Budget Office suggest that the costs of paying current and future claims will cost more than $10 billion over the next ten years. Rand Paul added in another tweet:
As I have done on countless issues, including disaster relief and wall funding, I will always take a stand against borrowing more money to pay for programs rather than setting priorities and cutting waste.
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 23, 2019
Paul and Senate Democrats have been fighting over the issue for days. Comedian Jon Stewart, who famously spoke on behalf of the 9/11 victims to an almost empty Senate, has slammed both the Senate and Rand Paul.
Stewart called Paul a hypocrite. While Paul supported Republican tax cuts, which have caused the deficit to balloon, he suggested that supporting 9/11 victims and first responders would be a wasteful use of government money.
The Republican tax cuts have been widely criticized for offering little benefit to workers while enabling a massive transfer of wealth to already wealthy business owners. In 2017, Paul expressed some issues with his party’s tax plan, but ultimately supported it. CBO estimates suggest that the total cost of the tax cut bill is nearly $2 trillion.
“Pardon me if I’m not impressed in any way by Rand Paul’s fiscal responsibility virtue signaling,” Stewart stated. “The people from the state of Kentucky … deserve much better.”
Featured image via YouTube