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. CenterPoint

    There must have been some kind of compromize for the US to rack up so much debt.

    July 26, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. @maureenminnesota

    And where exactly has president obama been honest in all of this? He lies constantly and says one thing one day and another thing the next...he uses scare tactics to frighten elderly and disabled. He is a disgerace as a President and I hope SOMEBODY defeats him even if its another more sane democrat!

    July 26, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Progressive Jedi

    Remember, it's not a blank check for new spending, it's a filled out check to cover what congress already spent. All of you undereducated meme repeaters who think this is for new spending need to wake up and switch from kool-aid to coffee!

    July 26, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. CenterPoint

    Why can't the "compromize" be a bi-partisan agreement on which services to cut in order to get our debt under control?
    Why must a compromize come with a tax increase. I know that it is simple not right if one day my neighbors all get together and decide to take from the most affluent person on the block so that they can afford something they want (or even need).

    July 26, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. sue

    I did my call to White House and to one of my Oklahoma senators and told them I support the President on a bipartician budget, raise the debt ceiling and start Taxing the Rich, get rid of their loopholes and Tax Credits.....and leave Social Security and Medicare alone.....I paid into it for 50 years and that money belongs to us for the hard work we have done over the years.....You took it out of our checks now we want it back......NO CUTS unless these Politicians are willing to take cuts in their salaries and retirement plans that are provided to them by our Tax more putting the burden on the middle class and elderly........The other Senator Enhoff of Oklahoma ....couldn't get through to him.....I bet most of the Republicans aren't even taking any consideration into the amount of people that are fired up enough to kick them out on the butts......Now the House of Representitives are wanting to IMPEACH Obama if he lets America go into isn't him it's the Republicans that aren't willing to save this country so maybe we need to IMPEACH them.

    July 26, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. abby

    I have contacted my senators and congressman and let them know to get off their collective derrieres and compromise and cooperate. However, I doubt they will listen to me - I'm just a voter not a lobbyist or rich person or corporation....

    July 26, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  7. keith A. sillsbury

    The gop most likely still won't listen and when their all voted out at election time they'll stand there and say something stupid like, we didn't know or you didn't tell us. yeah well I remember what I was tought in school that ignorance is no excuse for the law and I think that applies well in this situation. we had money, bush made tax cuts for the rich to create jobs, the rich didn't create jobs but did keep the money so now we have no money. End the tax cuts and then fix the spending.

    July 26, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. CenterPoint

    If this was truly about helping those who really need it, then wouldn't it be a much more effective solution to handle that through private donation of time and treasure. Government agencies are notorious for eating 80% of their funding in administrative costs.

    July 26, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. Democrat Class Warfare & Race Baiting - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    I DO believe that that is an actual picture of the Congressional switchboard!! State of the art, just like the rest of the government. I believe it was recently upgraded thanks to the stimulus plan. Prior to this hi-tech it was Pony Express. Your government taxes at work....

    July 26, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Freshman Republicans have reported. "You decide." My choice is "fair and balanced."

    July 26, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    Republicans don't listen or hear. They ONLY listen to corporate America - protecting their wealthy contributors.

    WE do not matter to republicans. They ran on jobs jobs jobs jobs jobs, and switch to this? And abortion? And guns? And union-bustng.

    THEY do not listen.

    July 26, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    What's the matter cnn you can'tpost something anyone cannfind on the internet? Call boner's' office and let him know what a chicken ______ he truly is! We are now the citizens of HELL NO TO THE GOP!!!!
    202 225 0600

    July 26, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  13. Rob

    If the Tea Party wants to maintain any legitimacy in fighting for radical change(which is what is needed) all of their goals in this fight or others can't be so one sided.Compromise is not a dirty word!

    July 26, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Malty

    I love how Obama diverts negative attention to others. He is as much to blame for overspending, increasing the debt and failing to compromise legislation on the debt ceiling. His advantage is that he makes weekly announcements and speeches and people don't check the facts (and CNN and others don't call him on his remarks).

    Obama is a great marketer, but a terrible president.

    The democrats OWNED Congress for 4 years–the years when spending was the worst and the debt climbed the highest.

    July 26, 2011 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Maureen Mower

    If you can't reach your representative at the DC office, try their local office. Mine is Lou Barletta. I was able to get through by phone to BOTH his Wilkes Barre and DC offices. If the line is busy, keep trying.

    July 26, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. Sam

    After 8 years of overspending under a Republican president, I do not know how Boehner could give the speech last night with a straight face. It is unforgivable for these politicians to use people's hardship for their own political gain. I would like to fire them all for their incompetency.

    July 26, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  17. Concerned

    Frank, ur an idiot.....

    July 26, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Lisa P

    From Kahuna:

    I hope Americans wise up and give their GOP reps an ear full. These clowns who pledge allegiance to the Tea Party and Grover Norquist have forgotten who they serve.
    July 26, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |

    This, exactly. Worth repeating: they serve us! 🙂

    July 26, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Anthony

    Fair is Fair,

    I am thinking about different questions: "Should the debt limit be raised?" and "Do you favor the Republican plan of spending cuts only, or the Democratic plan of a combination of spending cuts and tax increases?"

    You posed a provocative question. OK, how about these questions: "Should the rich pay their fair share of taxes?", "Should GE pay no taxes when it had a profit of 5 billion?", "Should people who make over $250,000 keep their tax cuts while Republicans ask everyone else to bear the pain of spending cuts?"

    Yes, we have a representative democracy. But when our representatives decide their political bases are more important than the economy, it is time for them to get out of the way.

    July 26, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  20. Progressive Jedi

    Only congress, the House and Senate, not the President can spend money. It's not President Obama's job to make the deal. Any blame for delay should be placed squarely on the shoulders of those who choose to make this an issue, namely the Tea Party in the House, everyone else is willing to make something happen before our country's finances go down the toilet. It's time for thos who have had blind faith in the Tea Party to open their eyes and see what these people are really up to. Their motives have nothing to do with being patriotic, nothing to do with helping the USA. The Tea Party is all about helping transnational corporations and the ultra wealthy at the expense of our country.

    July 26, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Maureen Mower

    Here are some talking points for those who support compromise:

    1 – we DO have a revenue problem. When your income is unsufficient to meet your financial obligations (not frills – basic needs and outstanding debts), then you have to increase your income because you cannot just ignore those obligations.

    2 – Compromise is NOT a dirty word.

    3 – Almost half of our current debt load was caused by engaging in 2 wars without raising taxes to pay for them (the first time America has EVER cut taxes during wartime). Now that bill – a bill that was incurred by Bush 2 & a GOP Congress – has come due, and we have to pay it.

    4 – It doesn't matter what the Tea Party THINKS the American people wanted when they voted in 2010. The fact is, right now, a wide MAJORITY of Americans want compromise and a FAIR deal that includes tax increases. So the Tea Party and the GOP as a whole need to get with the program or step down so we can elect someone who will listen to us. The only other option is to raise the debt limit clean – with no spending cuts or tax increases. But either way, they need to act NOW and stop the childish games.

    5 – If you are a senior or rely on SSD, Survivors Beneifts, VA benefits, etc.: Tell your representative that if those checks do not come out for August, you will have to go on TANF or other state assistance. With 50 million seniors alone (not to mention the widowers with kids and the disabled), that will bankrupt the states (most of which are already broke).

    6 – Every increase in interest rates will translate to a cost of living increase for ALL Americans. That will lead to even higher unemployment, which means even less people able to afford even the basics like food and medicine, let alone rent, car or credit payments, utilities, etc. And if Americans can't pay their bills, then those corporations the GOP is trying so hard to protect will be LOSING far more money than any tax increase will cost them.

    July 26, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It would be nice if just as many people voted as are concerned over anything that government does. We need more people to be informed and active in all levels of government.

    With this going on, I would hope that the GOP is willing to consider raising taxes on the wealthiest of the country. I have to say that I don't any of their money trickling down. Where are the jobs they are to create with all of their spending? I think that I know where those jobs are - outside the country. All they care about is money and not creating jobs here in the US!

    July 26, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  23. Maureen Mower

    One more point – any member of Congress who values their promise to Grover Norquist more than their oath of office and duty to the American people is a TRAITOR who should be stripped of office and prosecuted.

    July 26, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Tariq

    Dear Congress,
    I am a resident of PA – not a democrat or a Republican – just a US citizen, and i am finding it extremely distasteful how congress is approaching the US debt debate. Raising a little tax on the well off – that includes me – is not a bad idea, hiding behind the reasoning that it hinders jobs or the market, is a terrible idea. Let me put it in perspective:

    1. Someone making a $100 and spending $3 on bread takes a 3% hit to their take home, while someone making $1000 and eating a $10 bread only takes a 1% hit. Please be fair in your comparisons. Apples to apples, and not apples to water melons.

    2. The excuse of not raising the taxes to slow the growth is – to put it mildly – a blatant figment of the imagination. Show me some numbers that say more US workers have been hired VS. companies moving over seas with their tax savings and hiring workers over seas at the expense of our (US) economy.
    Some of the biggest companies have started to offshore – when there are almost 10% unemployed in US. Can you explain how increasing or lowering taxes will help companies move back to US. Close the tax loophole that cause companies to move overseas, and tax companies a little higher when they staff overseas after 2 years of profit. In my opinion, if a company can afford to expand over seas...they can afford to pay extra. Bring the profits back to US!

    3. US is no longer in the lead when it comes to education – and you want to cut education spending? How is this going to help in the pay down our debts?
    If anything, cut back on the politically risky items you or the other congressmen don't want to touch due to political suicide – cut back on social programs or add drug screening as a mandate. Cut back on pension plans for federal employees – not the soldiers. Look at the underlying cause of Medical expense increases and education increases – are they justified? or are they for profit increases?

    Do the US a favor, work with the president (although i wish Clinton was back). He (Mr. Obama) has some good ideas, and so does your team. But at this time, GOP sticking to their childish games of signing a "pledge" to never raise taxes is quite immature – my 17month old can make better judgements. Let's grow-up, be men, and make some hard choices for our kids, the future of U.S., and let's do it together. Show me you mean America!

    Safia's papa – a kid who deserves a better US

    July 26, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. gt

    millions are saying "stand firm...stop the wasteful spending now..."

    July 26, 2011 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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