Sen. Rand Paul says saving money is more important than taking care of the health of the first responders of 9/11.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) held up passage of legislation that would have funded the 9/11 victim's compensation fund during a Senate session on Wednesday.
The legislation, which overwhelmingly passed the House, would cover health care costs for first responders involved in the terrorist attacks. The current funding is set to expire in 2020.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) asked the Senate for unanimous consent for passage of the bill, which would have proceeded without need for a traditional vote.
Instead, Paul objected.
"It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt," Paul said, defending his action. "Any new program that is going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable. We need to at the very least have this debate."
Paul never referenced the terrorist attack — the worst in American history — nor did he acknowledge the role of first responders and the illnesses they have suffered as a result.
Paul was one of several Republicans in the Senate majority in 2017 who voted for the massive giveaway to corporations and wealthy individuals as part of the tax scam. Paul's vote for tax cuts was not offset in the way he is now demanding of the 9/11 fund.
Gillibrand immediately slammed Paul's move.
"I'm deeply disappointed that my colleague has just objected to the desperately needed and urgent bill for our 9/11 first responders," she said.
Her sentiment was echoed by her fellow New York senator, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
"You can come up with ten thousand reasons not to do something. But you shouldn't come up with any reason why not to do something noble and right. I would urge my friend from Kentucky to withdraw his objection," he said, addressing Paul.
Schumer called on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who previously put the legislation on the congressional backburner, to schedule a vote on the bill to ensure its passage.
"We can let these folks in the gallery and so many others do what they need to do–help their families, help their friends, and make sure their health is given the best, best protection possible."
Paul's obstruction once again showed Republicans unnecessarily blocking legislation that would provide relief to thousands of families, and justifying it on grounds that are simply not credible.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.