PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Frustrated flood victims in New Jersey rallied near the Saddle River with a message to lawmakers: dredge the river or they’ll dig it themselves.

“I have no heat. I have no hot water. I’m living like a third world country,” resident Bridget Bailey told CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano.

If Congress doesn’t act on the spending bill, the Federal Emergency Management Agency says disaster relief could run out this week.

“That means they really don’t care about their American constituency and municipalities that need that help
desperately,” said Saddle Brook Mayor Karen Chamberlain.

On Friday, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives passed a temporary spending bill that would keep the government running through mid-November, which includes FEMA disaster relief money.

The Democrat-controlled Senate rejected the bill, which includes spending cuts to offset any money spent on additional disaster relief.

Lawmakers on both sides say they’re frustrated by the lack of action in Washington and that the debate
over cuts has come to this.

“This is a basic function of Congress to keep the government running. What we ought not to do is play politics with those who have been affected by disasters,” said David Plouffe, White House senior adviser.

“I don’t like this business of sitting around and blaming each other over such small potatoes. What we really ought to be doing is spending time to see if we can get $4 trillion in debt reduction,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee).

In Paterson, New Jersey, Pablo Vega says while he received some FEMA, it wasn’t enough.

“I hope they all get together and this bill and pass it because people need money to fix apartments, businesses, whatever to get back on track,” he said.

Should New Jersey residents begin dredging? Sound off in our comments section below…

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