WASHINGTON (CNN) - A huge spike in the number of people wanting to e-mail their members of Congress about health-care reform has overloaded a key feature on the House of Representatives home page, the House technical office said Thursday.
The "Write your Representative" feature on the Web site, which tells people how to send an e-mail to their congressperson, has been unable to handle the massive increase in traffic, the office said.
An e-mail alert from the technical office went out to all House staff members notifying them of the problem.
"The House domain http://www.house.gov is currently experiencing an increased volume of visitors to Member(s') public Web sites," it said. "Web forms on http://www.house.gov may be slow to process and content may be slow or unresponsive due to the heavy load."
Jeff Ventura, spokesman for the chief administrative officer for the House, told CNN the health-care debate caused a sudden influx of e-mail, resulting in "a degradation of the system."
After the debate on the economic stimulus bill caused the House server to crash earlier this year, he said, engineers installed "load balancing" hardware to handle increased volume.
"Clearly we did not scale up enough," he observed. "We have to look at the capacity of that feature and figure out why we're hitting a ceiling."
Engineers hope to set up new features to keep the problem from recurring, Ventura added.