9/11 memorial
© Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Visitor at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, NYC.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has blocked the passage of a measure extending compensation for the victims of the 9/11 attacks, citing cost concerns. The measure had broad bipartisan support.

The bill, which would authorize funding for sick and dying first responders until fiscal year 2090 passed the House in a 402-12 vote last week and had 73 co-sponsors in the Senate. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), one of the contenders for the presidential ticket in 2020, attempted to pass it by unanimous consent on Wednesday, skipping debate if there were no objections from other senators.

Paul, however, objected. The Kentucky Republican, known as a deficit hawk, blocked the bill until it could be resubmitted with an amendment guaranteeing spending cuts elsewhere to offset its estimated $10 billion price tag.

Paul's office said the senator was "not blocking anything," merely "seeking to pay for it." His objection was met with howls of protest regardless, starting with Gillibrand on the Senate floor and continuing on social media.

Paul was "happy to vote for [President] Donald Trump and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell's trillion-dollar tax handout to millionaires, but he blocked my request for unanimous consent on the 9/11 first responders bill," GIllibrand later tweeted.

Democratic Coalition founder Scott Dworkin called Paul "disgusting," and the Republican Party "gross and pathetic."

"Nothing screams 'I hate America' like finishing the job Bin Laden started by blocking funding for the stricken heroes of 9/11," tweeted Democrat activist Walter Shaub, former government ethics director.

The proposed bill would extend the funding to survivors of the September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington DC through 2090. It was passed after former TV host Jon Stewart made an angry, emotional appeal before a House subcommittee last month.

The fund helps offset the medical bills of the first responders suffering from cancer and other ailments caused by exposure to toxins during the collapse of the stricken World Trade Center. One of them, former New York Police Detective Luis Alvarez, appeared alongside Stewart at House hearings before passing away from cancer at the end of June.