Capitol Hill Switchboards Overloaded With Calls To Cut Spending
Switchboards on Capitol Hill are overloaded and websites are crashing due to high volume.
In his speech Monday night, the president suggested people call their elected representatives to tell them to compromise on debt and deficit negotiations.
After numerous attempts, Fox News was finally able to get through to the Chief Administrative Officer of the House. A woman there said she could not accurately say how many calls have been received Tuesday or how over-burdened the office is. However, she did say some calling will get a busy signal.
Over on the Senate side, a Republican leadership aid tells Fox News their office is having computer server problems and switchboard issues, adding, “the overwhelming number of calls are actually urging members to oppose President Obama’s approach to increasing the debt ceiling and calling on Congress to cut spending and not raise taxes.
But it’s not only Republicans. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., released a statement that his phone lines are jammed too.
“We’re getting hundreds of calls today on the President’s speech last night,” Nelson’s statement read. “Most folks just want Congress to act. I agree. I think the President was right in saying both political parties bear responsibility for running up the federal debt.”
Nelson added he was confident there would be a deal to avoid default.
Staffers in other Senate offices reported that their phones were “ringing off the hook.” An aide to Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said call volume is about 60 percent higher than usual with some callers supporting the president, some calling for Cut, Cap and Balance, and still others saying “just get something done.”
Calls to New Hampshire Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s office are atthree-to-four times their normal volume.
Officials say Congress averages about 20,000 calls per day but that there had been about 35,000 calls Tuesday. But that falls short of the 50,000 calls per day during the health care debate.
Those in charge of telecommunications at the Capitol complex are sent the following memo to folks around the Hill Tuesday:
Due to the high volume of external calls, House telephone circuits serving 202-225-XXXX phone numbers are near capacity resulting in outside callers occasionally getting busy signals. Outbound calls are unaffected.
During this time offices may wish to provide district office staff and key contacts with an alternate extension, if available, until call volumes subside.