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Friday, March 19, 2010

Calls To Congress Overload Capacity

The public is making it's voices heard by calling their Congressmen, but some aren't getting through because the phone system holds a certain capacity and the massive influx of calls is overloading it and officials claim the problem is "unsolvable."

Calls to the House numbered close to 100,000 an hour, creating a bottleneck in a phone system only meant to handle 50,000 calls an hour. The chamber has been similarly overloaded for four consecutive days, beginning on Tuesday when radio host Rush Limbaugh told viewers to call the Capitol switchboard phone number.

Jeff Ventura, spokesman for Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard, said the problem was essentially unsolvable. The issue lies with the capacity of the cables buried underneath the Capitol complex — and even if those could be dug up and replaced, Members simply don’t have enough staff to answer so many calls, he said.

“Our capacity rate is about 50,000 calls an hour, and once we hit the 40,000 mark, we start to get these signals,” he said. “We’re beyond that. There’s no other way to say it other than the system is at capacity.”

Considering the House of Representatives is the "people's House" perhaps they should update their systems so that constituents can actually reach their representatives.