WASHINGTON (CNN) – A coordinated conservative push to kill a climate change bill managed to at least take down the House of Representatives' phone switchboard.
The volume of calls to House members Friday was so high that a spokesman for the House chief administrative officer told CNN Radio the system could not handle it.
"Phone traffic has increased to a level where some callers are receiving an 'all circuits are busy now, please try back again later' message," communications director Jeff Ventura wrote in an e-mail response.
This came as conservative radio hosts and congressmen made direct pleas for voters to dial the Capitol and oppose a Democratic bill that would set strict limits on carbon emissions. Both sides believed the bill was within a few votes of passing or failing.
"Call your congressman, right now!" urged Rep. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, from the House floor as the chamber seemed to near a vote.
Ventura said the bill was likely behind the phone-line crash. "The suspected cause ... is believed to be interest and inquiries regarding the expected vote on the climate bill," he wrote.
Busy signals blared from congressional offices beginning Friday morning. Traffic was especially jammed at key committees and in offices of potential swing voters, including Democrats from traditionally Republican states, like Texas.
"I can't begin to tell you how many calls we've received," said Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas, "and it's disproportionately vote 'no.'" Gonzalez said calls were disproportionately "yes" during the committee process and he planned to support the bill.
Ventura said technical staff was working to try and resolve the issue late Friday.