NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While Congress debates whether to permanently renew the Zadroga Act, another 9/11 firefighter has died.
Retired Battalion Chief James Costello, 52, died Nov. 25 from World Trade Center-related cancer, WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported.
FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said Costello retired last year after 26 years with the department.
The commissioner said Congress should not wait any longer to extend the act, which offers health screenings and financial aid to sick 9/11 first responders
Parts of the act have already expired. If nothing is done, the law, which covers 30,000 people, will completely lapse in late 2016.
“It’s been devastating to our department, it’s been devastating to the police department, and it’s about time it gets passed,” Nigro said.
Congress appeared to be close to extending the Zadroga Act, but Democrats are blaming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., for blocking it.
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said the Zadroga Act was going to be included in a transportation bill unveiled Tuesday. McConnell, however, insisted on including another item that would lift the ban on exporting oil from the United States to other countries in the world, Menendez said. When Democrats balked at the idea, the Zadroga Act was removed from the legislation, Menendez said.
“It’s really one of the shameful moments here in the Congress,” Menendez told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott.
“It’s a sad display of politicizing a key health care provision for the very bravest among us to benefit the oil and gas industry.”