House phones near capacity
July 26th, 2011
11:45 AM ET
11 years ago

House phones near capacity

(CNN) - Capitol Hill is ringing busy Tuesday due to a high volume of calls and jammed phone lines in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to an email from the House's call center.

The phone traffic comes after President Barack Obama asked Americans to contact their elected leaders in his primetime speech Monday.

"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," the email said.

Officials recommended that staff members provide their district offices with additional phone numbers for constituents who want to reach Washington, D.C.

"Offices have been advised to utilize alternate extensions when possible," said Salley Wood, communications director for the House Administration Committee, which handles day-to-day operations in members' offices on Capitol Hill.

House offices are also receiving a flood of emails, and a number of websites are down or experiencing slow connections as of late Tuesday morning. House Speaker John Boehner's website responds with a "Server Too Busy" or "Bad Request (Invalid Hostname)" message.

Kyle Anderson, Democratic communications director for the House Administration Committee, said the deluge of calls and emails from Americans underline "the seriousness of default."

"These are the people with Social Security and Medicare benefits at stake, individuals with pensions and retirement accounts invested in the financial markets and business owners whose continued existence is based upon their ability to access capital markets at reasonable interest rates," said Anderson. "Their message, and sense of urgency, are clear."

- CNN Congressional Producer Deirdre Walsh and CNN Radio's Capitol Hill Correspondent Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.

Filed under: Congress • Debt • Deficit • House
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Most of the cable political pundits have remarked that the President had nothing new to say during a prime time speech. Critics have said the same, adding that he made a campaign speech. It now appears that the real point was to encourage the people to speak out, NOW.

    July 26, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. Anthony

    I have a solution for the debt ceiling crisis: a binding national referendum. Congress has no idea how to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling. Let the voters decide whether they want the debt ceiling raised, and how to do it.

    July 26, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Maureen Mower

    I would assign a few investigative reporters to find out exactly WHY those websites are down. Is it really due to a high volume of replies, or have the GOP House members taken their sites offline to avoid the backlash of comments and thereby be able to *legitimately* claim later on that they never heard a consensus from their constituents to change their stance on the debt ceiling.

    Yeah, I know – that's a very cynical way of looking at things, and assumes a great deal of dishonesty on the part of those elected officials. But then, their dishonesty (proven over and over again, including in Boehner's speech last night) is exactly WHY I'm so cynical.

    July 26, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  4. sonny chapman

    Who said The President's speech was a waste of time ?

    July 26, 2011 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    It took the President of the United States to tell folks what they should have been doing all along? Never underestimate the ignorance of the American people. Considering who was most likely to listen to Obama's speech last night, one assumes our overpaid, under worked Congress is getting an earful. Good. It's about time they actually have to spend time LISTENING to the public, instead of TELLING the public what it is they want us to think. Who knows, maybe – just maybe – these Congressional fools so oblivious to reality can fight their way out of their own smoke and mirrors rhetoric, and (hopefully) become better equipped to understand that their own version of what *Americans want* is decidedly different than what most Americans actually do want.

    July 26, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  6. Dita

    When will we learn what people are saying? I love stats lol

    July 26, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Frank

    Stay strong Speaker Boehner! We support your efforts to stop Obama's reckless spending!!!!!

    July 26, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Will

    Emailed and phoned my Congressman to go with the Boehner plan. If the Senate chooses to do nothing from there then its on them.

    July 26, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. ConservaFASCISTS/Dutch, Bad Newz, VA

    That's what the bully pulpit is for Mr. President. Way to take control of the situation. If those fascists republicans don't want to compromise, we'll make them compromise.

    July 26, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. Mom to 3

    My husband and I tried to call and e-mail. We got a full voicemail and a crashed server when we tried. I am glad that Americans are following President Obama's suggestion to let your Congressperson know you want them to compromise and adopt a balanced approach. I know that my GOP Congressman won't listen since the GOP doesn't seem to understand the meaning of the word compromise or the word balanced, but I will let him know that my husband and I support a balanced approach of cuts and revenue and that we will most certainly NOT be voting for him in 2012 if he cannot cooperate with President Obama (whom we most certainly WILL be voting for).

    July 26, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. KatR

    Gosh! This is exciting. We the People are overloading phone circuits and email servers for the House of Representatives. Guess we all know where the legislative blockage is in Congress.Hopefult this onslaught from us all will convince the radical right members of the House that they need to listen to us rather than adhere to their pledges to Norquist and his ilk.

    July 26, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Kahuna

    I hope Americans wise up and give their GOP reps an ear full. These clowns who pledge alligence to the Tea Party and Grover Norquist have forgotten who they serve.

    July 26, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  13. TomInRochNY

    I guess it's all those Americans the Rs say that don't want tax increases for the wealthy and corporations calling to confirm that. Or, not.

    July 26, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. w l jones

    Why not we the people of American wont to know what our elective officer to do about our debit problem. One note if it were not for debt how many home and car owner we would have in this country think about it my friend.

    July 26, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  15. Nini

    Yes they are calling to tell GOP good job for standing up to the spenders.
    They are calling to tell GOP stay at it.

    July 26, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  16. J Marren

    Republicans need to stop worrying about the 2012 election and blowing up the economy in the process. Do the right thing for the country!

    July 26, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. John

    I just hope they listen to the American People for a changes. I told my Congressman to Compromise and I all so told my Senator, But here lately the Republican seem to only listen to the RICH AND BIG BUSINESS. I till don't see how It could be legal to take Pledge from Special Group of People ,when they all ready swear to a OATH when they took office. And This Is all because of the Tea Party. Nobody should vote for any body that are back by the Tea Party Or has anything to do with the Tea Party.

    July 26, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    "I have a solution for the debt ceiling crisis: a binding national referendum. Congress has no idea how to pass a bill to raise the debt ceiling. Let the voters decide whether they want the debt ceiling raised, and how to do it."
    What would happen if there was a binding national referrendum which posed the question "Should everyone making less than $250,000 be given a check from the government in the amount of $10,000". Think it would pass? Of course it would. Think it would be good for the country? Think again.

    We have a representative democracy. Our laws are not made by refernda.

    July 26, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  19. Rudy NYC


    Yes they are calling to tell GOP good job for standing up to the spenders.
    They are calling to tell GOP stay at it.
    Do you even know why entitlements have become part of annual discretionary spending? Do you know why Reagan had to "fix" SSI back in 1983?

    It's because Reagan dipped deeply into SSI to fund his massive tax cuts and massive deficit spending. The checking account literally owes the savings account.

    Just as conservative governers across the country failed to pay into state pensions, those same conservatives policies were lax in reimbursing SSI, which means the large nest egg was collecting less interest for the past 3 decades. So when Democrats tell you that SSI is solvent for decades, that is because the checking account is obligated to *repay* what it has borrowed *with* interest.

    Now the GOTP wants to renege. Their entitlement cuts amount to defaulting on paying back the loans the American people made to conservative deficit spending policies.

    July 26, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  20. Scott

    I so wish that tomorrow was election day.

    July 26, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. a in austin

    With an unemployed husband, I am so sick of hearing the gotp "NO". They have done nothing since Obama took office except to try to make him look bad and bring him down. In the mean time, we continue to hurt and want JOBS. Wish they would fight this hard for JOBS. Quit playing chicken with my kids and grandkids future – COMPROMISE! REP. JOHN CARTER – ARE YOU READING???

    July 26, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. coy4one

    I emailed all the important Republican Congressmen and Congresswomen. At my company, we stand to have large layoffs if the debt ceiling is not raised. I know of other companies who will do the same thing. So this bull that Boehner gave us about job loss if the President gets his way is just that...bull! The polls show that the Republicans are not doing what the American people think is best. WAKE UP YOU GUYS!!! I will NOT vote for any politician that allows the country to default.

    July 26, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Pat

    Funny. When I try to contact the House of Representatives the server is busy. When I try to contact my Republican Senator the email keeps looping to include my email address. I keep putting the email address in and when I hit submit it asks for email address again. I was able to email my Democratic Senator with my thoughts. Again, funny how that works. Oh, I did leave a phone message for my Republican Senator.

    July 26, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Auction is on....!

    Who can outbid whom..! Yes, Pres Obama is putting the country on the auction-block to raise the
    debt-ceiling at any cost, thus will sink the country into a red-ink sea.
    Lets see "does the country need Washington with its Politicians? Look where it got us..! Perhaps America needs
    to reform Washington...downsize, downsize the too may Politicians are there with only a self-interest agenda.
    "COUNTRY FIRST" !!!!!

    July 26, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. CNN The Master's of Spin

    All you Liberal Bloggers here are all for raising the debt ceiling and taxing the rich and businesses......and a Large Corps are businesses......why? So you can take from others who have and give it to others who are Lazy! You do not care if our children and grandchildren backs are broken with the are only concerned with the "here & now"! If you tax the wealthy 90% of their income, there still would not be enough to go around with the current Liberal spending in the WH.
    The majority of Americans want this:
    1. The spending to stop
    2. A Constitutional ammendment to balance the budget each year.
    3. Entitlements reigned in to meet our income
    These are all anti-Democratic Dem will vote for these and this nation will go broke.
    When Clinton saw the handwriting on the wall in his midterm, he declared "the end to welfare as we know it" and 84 million people fell off welfare, no one died, no one went hungry, what they did do thoughis; the went out and got a JOB!
    The same will happen today, but as long as the Dems keep handing it out, they will continue to take!

    July 26, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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