‘He pretended for years when he was on his comedy show to be somebody who could see … through the B.S. on both sides. Well, now he is the B.S…’
Stewart, who became a liberal icon during his years hosting Comedy Central’s “Daily Show,” made an impassioned speech before Congress last month, accusing members of apathy for neglecting the Victim Compensation Fund for first responders.
After Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, sought to fast-track a funding bill without the usual approval process, though, Paul objected, along with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, saying that the measure should be spending neutral and draw from elsewhere rather than adding to the deficit.
“Until you’re willing to cut that stuff out to pay for something more important, like the 9/11 victims, you’re not doing your job,” Paul said in an interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto. “Just to add it on and borrow it is inexcusable, it’s wrong.”
Paul countered Stewart’s claims that he was guilty of “fiscal responsibility virtue signaling” by saying it was the erstwhile celebrity who was the real glory-hound.
“The left-wing mob doesn’t care about the truth,” he said. “Jon Stewart doesn’t care about the truth—it’s all about ‘Me, me, me, Jon Stewart. Look at me, I’m on TV.’”
Calling Stewart a “gutter snipe,” Paukl said that both the comedian and Gillibrand were among those peddling false narratives about the nature of the spending bill and about Paul’s own track record.
“It’s really kind of disgusting,” Paul said, “because he pretended for years, when he was on his comedy show, to be somebody who could see both sides and see through the B.S. on both sides. Well, now he is the B.S.”
While those who sought to rush the bill through Congress claimed that it would appropriate $10.2 billion to the fund over the next decade, Paul said that, in fact, it would amount to roughly $2 billion every year until 2092, with no limits on the amount that may be spent.
“Who in their right mind would vote for a bill that doesn’t have a dollar amount in it?” he asked. “What you would do, if you were responsible, is you’d allocate it for three, four or five years, and then you’d come back and re-assess it.”
Paul noted that the proposed carte blanche—which is still likely to pass overwhelmingly, despite his objections—would come on top of $12 billion that already has been provided to the fund.
“This isn’t a stingy country. This isn’t a country who forgot the 9/11 heroes or the firemen,” he said. “… This is a country that will continue to do more, but we shouldn’t completely lose our heads and say, ‘Oh, well it’s a good cause, so we really shouldn’t have any budgetary restraints.’”
Paul said that only about 10 to 15 people in the Senate seemed to be concerned by the massive amount of borrowing, which has raised the current national debt to more than $22.5 trillion, with $2 million more being borrowed every minute.
“I’m asking something very reasonable,” he said: “that an amendment be included to consider whether we should pay for this [by] taking something somewhere else in the budget—doesn’t actually reduce the deficit, it just keeps the deficit from getting bigger.”
He also noted that he had put up similar roadblocks to reckless spending, regardless of the cause, on every new bit of funding—be it disaster relief, emergency border funding or tax cuts.
“I’ve spent my entire Senate career putting forward ‘pay fors’ for any time spending is expanded,” he said.
Last month, Paul spoke at a press event for the Citizens Against Government Waste’s release of its annual Congressional Pig Book.
The event highlighted some of the ridiculous ways tax dollars had been spent, bringing pork-barrel funding up by 4 percent last fiscal year despite a moratorium on earmarks.
Paul reminded Fox viewers of some of those measures, including the appropriation of $2 million for a study on whether people were more or less likely to eat food that had been sneezed on in a buffet line.
“How about the $300,000 we spent on Japanese quail to see if they’re more sexually promiscuous on cocaine?” he asked.
Rather than be excoriated for his efforts, Paul said he should be commended as one of the few fiscal watchdogs in Congress.
“When they argue and they bellyache and say, ‘Oh, he’s blocking the bill’—no, I’m trying to have a debate in our country about whether or not deficits matter and whether or not we should offset new spending,” he said.