NEW YORK — New York City Republicans cursed a member of their own party Wednesday for blocking a bill to aid 9/11 first-responders. GOP city officials lobbed expletives at U.S. Sen. Rand Paul after the Kentucky lawmaker impeded legislation that would preserve the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund for another seven decades.
“Well once again said on Twitter. “I say that as a lifelong New Yorker and Republican.”proved himself to be a piece of s—,” City Council Member Eric Ulrich of Queens
Paul on Wednesday objected to the unanimous consent approval of Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill to keep the Victim Compensation Fund running through the 2090 fiscal year. The measure cleared the House of Representatives last week with more than 400 votes.
Paul based his objection on concerns about growing the national debt. He said he would propose an amendment to the bill if it comes to the Senate floor.
“Any new program that’s going to have the longevity of 70, 80 years should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable,” Paul said. “We need to at the very least have this debate.”
But that didn’t appease Republicans in the city, where more than 2,600 people died in the 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks. The fund is slated to expire next year and a funding shortfall has forced it to slash payments as much as 70 percent.
“Rand Paul is an a—–e,” tweeted GOP Council Member Joe Borelli of Staten Island.
“You are an awful human being, Rand Paul,” said Staten Island Borough President Jimmy Oddo, also a Republican.
Paul’s move also drew outrage from Democrats such as U.S. Rep. Max Rose, who retweeted Borelli and Oddo’s criticisms. “Heroes are dying. Stop the nonsense,” Rose tweeted.
Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted that Paul would try to pay tribute to 9/11 victims and first-responders this fall despite hampering a bill meant to help them.
Gillibrand said on the Senate floor that she was “deeply disappointed” in Paul’s move, noting that her bill has 73 cosponsors from both parties.
“Enough of the political games,” Gillibrand said. “Our 9/11 first-responders and the entire nation are watching to see if this body actually cares.”
In response to city officials’ criticisms, a spokesperson for Paul said the senator is not blocking the bill but rather looking for a way to pay for it.
“As with any bill, Senator Paul always believes it needs to be paid for,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Senator Paul is simply offering an amendment, which other senators support, to pay for this legislation.”
Paul is reportedly not alone in holding up the bill. Advocates have accused Sen. Mike Lee of also stalling it, according to The Washington Post.
A spokesperson for Lee told the paper that the Utah Republican is “seeking a vote to ensure the fund has the proper oversight in place to prevent fraud and abuse.”