The Senate passed the measure Tuesday on a 97-to-2 vote, with Paul and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) voting against it. President Trump is expected to sign the bill on Friday.
Stewart, the former host of the “Daily Show,” had championed the legislation, which will extend the compensation program for decades, at an estimated cost of $10.2 billion for the first 10 years.
But as the measure stalled in the Senate last week, Stewart traded barbs with Paul, who together with Lee had held up the bill as they pressed for votes on proposed amendments to offset its cost.
Last week, Stewart called the two senators’ actions “outrageous” and accused them of “fiscal responsibility virtue signaling.”
Paul responded by calling the comedian a “guttersnipe” during a Fox News Channel interview.
“If Jon Stewart could read, maybe he’d read the bill and say, ‘Oh my God, who would vote for a bill that doesn’t have a dollar amount in it?’ ” the senator said.
During Tuesday’s CNN interview, Stewart was joined by John Feal, a construction worker-turned-activist who has spent years lobbying for 9/11 health-care programs after being injured while working at Ground Zero.
The two said they had tried numerous times to set up a meeting with Paul, to no avail. Paul’s deputy chief of staff, Sergio Gor, said Wednesday that Stewart “never reached out to me or our office.” He added that members of Paul’s staff met with Feal’s organization.
“You could debate us anytime, Rand Paul,” Feal said on CNN. “I’d love to debate you on the merits of this bill. And you have your merits and I’ll take mine.”
Turning to Stewart, he added, “And you could show up, if you want.”
“I won’t show up. He called me a guttersnipe!” Stewart said.
“He did,” Feal replied. “I don’t even know what that is.”
“I have a mind to call him a scalawag and a ragamuffin,” Stewart continued. “I’ll escalate this.”
Paul’s office fired back at Stewart on Wednesday.
“He is a liar and a demagogue who has revealed himself as nothing more than a disheveled charlatan,” Gor said.
Devlin Barrett contributed to this report.