Congressional Phone Lines Maxing Out on Capitol Hill

As Congress prepares to vote on (or pass without a vote) health care legislation, congressional phone lines and fax lines are paying the cost.

The below email is circulating around the Hill:

Due to the high volume of external calls, House telephone circuits are near capacity resulting in outside callers occasionally getting busy signals.

A HUMAN EVENTS reporter trying since 1 p.m. today to reach the office of Rep. John Boccieri, a potential swing vote on health care, has been unable to get through.

Other news organizations are also reporting on the volume of calls being received.

"I’ve never seen the phone lines this jammed on Capitol Hill," Fox News’ Chad Pergram said on the Neil Cavuto show.

Some offices are also experiencing problems with the fax lines. Another member had to warn the staff that even those offices not being targeted because of their health care stance may not be able to receive faxes because the system is so overloaded.

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) said his office isn’t experiencing fax issues, but they have received hundreds of  calls today on the health care bill — nine for the bill and 450 against.

Burgess, a no vote on health care, said when he calls his office’s D.C. number, it’s busy, but when he walks around the office, only one or two people are on the phone.

“I’ve asked the question, why is that, and they say it’s the House switchboard. It is just simply overwhelmed with the volume of calls that are coming in,” said Burgess.

Burgess said he would encourage people to keep trying to get through, whether by email or calling a member’s Capitol Hill or district offices. He said the Senate had a similar situation when they tried to pass the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill.

“This is an important issue and the member of Congress needs to hear from the constituency,” Burgess said.