Rand Paul blocks Senate from funding 9/11 victims fund over budget concerns | TribLIVE.com

Rand Paul blocks Senate from funding 9/11 victims fund over budget concerns

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Wednesday blocked a bipartisan bill that would extend victims’ compensation for the Sept. 11 attacks.

The Bethel Park-born Paul, a Republican, questioned the bill’s 70-year time frame and claimed that the federal government already faces a $22 trillion debt. He said any new spending such as the 9/11 bill should be offset by cuts.

“It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in the country,” Paul said Wednesday on the Senate floor. “And therefore any new spending … should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable. We need to at the very least have this debate.”

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, who introduced the measure for unanimous consent Wednesday, criticized Paul for playing “political games.”

The bill has 73 co-sponsors in the Senate and easily passed the House last week.

At a news conference, Gillibrand pushed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on the bill Thursday. The majority leader is expected to bring the bill up before the recess next month.

“Senator Paul may have turned his back on our first responders today, but now we have a filibuster-proof bipartisan support of 73 co-sponsors in addition to myself,” Gillibrand said.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a Senate Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.
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