9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Bill Hits Roadblock In Senate As Sen. Rand Paul Blocks Vote

July 17, 2019 - 2:40 pm
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- It will not be an easy path in the Senate for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill, which has already passed the House. 

A proposal was made on the Senate floor Wednesday to pass the bill unanimously, but Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul objected, citing fiscal concerns.

Long Island Republican Congressman Peter King, who helped shepherd the bill through the House, is furious.

"Unfortunately this is typical of Rand Paul, especially when it comes to issues that he thinks involve New York," King told WCBS 880's Steve Scott.

While the move doesn't kill the bill, it slows down the process to passage.

"We're going to keep fighting for simple justice," Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal told WCBS 880's Steve Scott. "I believe and expect and certainly hope that we will do it in the next week to 10 days because the House has led the way and we owe this kind of compensation as a matter of simple justice to the men and women who answered the call without asking whether they were exposed to toxins and poisons at the pile at Ground Zero that day."

The Connecticut senator said he will be pressing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to call a vote on the bill as soon as possible.

"There's no excuse for delay," Blumenthal said. "It's beyond just a legal imperative, it's a moral responsibility."

There are also reports that Utah Sen. Mike Lee put a hold on the bill. Paul and Lee say they're concerned about the $10 billion price tag.

"If they were fiscally responsible they wouldn't have voted 'yes' for a tax break for bizzillionaires," said 9/11 advocate John Feal has led the lobbying effort in Congress. He remains confident. "We are going to get legislation passed, with or without them."

King said 73 senators have already committed to vote for the bill and he is urging McConnell to find a way to get it through.

"You cannot allow someone like Rand Paul or Sen. Lee of Utah to block the entire Senate from voting on such a humanitarian issue like this. We're not talking about a road or a bridge or a tax increase or a tax cut, we're talking about people's lives here and the lives of their families," King said. "Unfortunately, Rand Paul could delay it for a while, we have to make that delay as brief as possible." 

The full House approved the bill last week by a vote of 402-12.