June 26th, 2009
06:54 PM ET
11 years ago

Callers against climate bill crash phone system

A coordinated conservative push to kill a climate change bill took down the House of Representatives' phone switchboard.

A coordinated conservative push to kill a climate change bill took down the House of Representatives' phone switchboard.

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.

Filed under: Congress
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Rik in Ohio

    Power to the people? I am so disappointed in the House of Representatives. They do not represent me. Those who voted for it will not get my support or vote in the next election. See ya!

    June 26, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. SJB

    God forbid we might tighten up on carbon emmissions! Ha! republicans-some things never change.

    June 26, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Debbie

    So let me get this straight...Conservatives WANT to breathe dirty air?

    June 26, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. Jeff Brown

    Too bad the calls didn't work you GOP losers!

    June 26, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  5. Post always rejected by CNN

    Shades of the phone jamming scam the republicans got away with when they stopped voters from getting to the polls to let the butt sununu win the election. I say, and say it, and say it, the republicans are the commonest bunch of people going. Guess this won't get posted either. You know you can't pan republicans.

    June 26, 2009 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. Henry

    Conservative fools led by Loud Dobbs, John King, and Ed Henry. I did not know they had time to call the switchboard while they were raptly listening to Newt, Rush, Palin, Cheney, or perhaps themselves.

    June 26, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. Alan

    Maybe all of the phone calls are a hint that the American people do not want this crap crammed down our throats.

    America – please remember this in 2010. Let's get rid of these idiots.

    No reasonable person in their right mind can actually believe that this is good for our country. Idiots!!

    June 26, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Re: "Gonzalez said calls were disproportionately "yes" during the committee process and he planned to support the bill."
    Uh huh! Right!
    Hello! The switchboard wasn't crashed with those supporting the climate bill.
    Spare us the spin, Mr. Gonzalez.

    June 26, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. x4faith

    Republicans are just crazy! The say they "love" Jesus...Yet, refuse to take care of the ONLY place they gave them to live.

    They say they "love" Jesus...Yet, they're filled with so much HATE!
    They say they "love " Jesus...Yet, they're LIE, DESTROY & TEAR DOWN with JOY!

    Why don't they just admit it...They love the DEVIL!

    June 26, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. SnowCrash

    The Yes Voting Republican turncoats were:

    Mary Bono Mack (CA) We got you, Babe.... unfortunately.

    Mark Kirk (IL) Did Chicago dig up some dirt on him or is he just an airhead?

    Mike Castle (DE) rhymes with.... Pack your bags, stiff.

    Frank LoBiondo (NJ)

    Chris Smith (NJ)

    Leonard Lance (NJ) Poor NJ.

    Dave Reichert (WA) Bellevue, kiss Reichert good-bye next year.

    John McHugh (NY) Can you believe this guy calls himself the "champion of fiscal responsibility"?

    June 26, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. Jasmne in Germany

    No surprise. The new administration was somewhat shocked at the archiac communications system in place. Hopefully the White House will be updated sooner than later.

    June 26, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  12. AKM

    I hope people will just push politics aside and think about the world they live in, and in which their children will end up
    Obama is the President. No need to fight that by making stupid decisions. Anything that improves the air helps everyone. Sad to see anyone disputing that to score a point

    Anyway, congratulation Mr President. I am glad I voted for you

    June 26, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  13. Michael

    ...and the GOP weigh in on the side of the dinosaurs yet again. Nice to see some thing remain consistent.

    June 26, 2009 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  14. Reinstate Darwinism

    One more foot deeper into our own grave.

    June 26, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  15. tarheel

    I am so disgusted with Congress because they are obviously going against the will of the people. How much more taxes are we supposed to absorb? All we can do though is try to hold on until 2010 and vote out the members of Congress who voted for this bill, whether they be Democrat or Republican. BTW, I'm a registered Democrat and have been for 32 years. The Democrats are just shoving bills down our throat as fast as they can because they know they have a limited window of opportunity. Gridlock is starting to look pretty good about right now.

    June 26, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  16. T in NV

    It passed! 219-212 and I applaud all 219 who had the guts to stand up to Big Oil. We need to have renewable energy and this bill will help the US toward energy independence! I am proud of the 219 who cast yes votes! Democrats, independants and moderates care about our environment. Republicans would love to ravage the land and feed the corporations the spoils until there is nothing left of our great (and only) planet.

    June 26, 2009 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  17. Chris Martin

    I hope the democrats enjoy this victory. Ignoring the will of the population will cost them the 2010 elections. Count on it.

    June 26, 2009 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    I was calling IN SUPPORT of the bill.

    I'll pay the extra in taxes. What good is money to our kids if there is no clean air and no transportation? Oh well, I sent an email to reps and senators.


    June 26, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. Denna

    Who cares now. The bill passed. Get over it. It is nice to see something get done in Washington in a timely manner. Now, go ahead and confirm Judge Sotomayor.

    June 26, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  20. Mario, mtl, ca.

    How stupid they are? hahahahahhaha

    June 26, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  21. Tpipe

    Let me get this straight in my head.
    Despite a lopsided majority of phone calls to our elected officals that said 'do not pass this bill', our elected officals(who are to represent the majority of the people) voted for this bill. What is wrong with this picture? I cannot believe that they are so much more informed that the electorate. Can it be that they don't have to listen to the voters? Can it be that this bill is loaded with more 'pork' for each Congressman?

    June 26, 2009 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. Good Luck to Them

    Oh please tell me CNN. How do you know it was a "conservative push"? So you spoke with all of the callers and discovered they were all conservatives? i have liberal friends that also don't want this "tax" bill pushed through congress.

    Thanks for showing your colors. One thing you are not.....BALANCED!

    June 26, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  23. Glennis

    I hear the bill passed. I think I couldn't possibly be more disgusted with this contemptible Congress. They continue to prove again and again how little their constituents matter to them. Meanwhile, many of them are set to make a bundle from the disastrous legislation they ram through. I want a show of hands to see who actually read this abomination.

    June 26, 2009 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  24. Good Luck to Them

    Gonzalez said calls were disproportionately "yes" during the committee process and he planned to support the bill.

    So, CNN, does this mean it was a "liberal push" to get it through?

    June 26, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  25. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    That makes sense. Conservatives are good at destroying things.

    June 26, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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