Constituents have clogged phone lines to congressional offices in Washington over the past three weeks, including a large volume of calls to the offices of South Carolina’s two senators, Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, as people voiced their opinions on President Donald Trump’s cabinet picks and executive orders
Senate offices were flooded with 1.5 million calls last week, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s spokesman told Bloomberg.
“There has been an uptick in phone (calls), but I think it is to be expected during the transition of an administration,” said Michele Perez Exner, Scott’s press secretary.
She said constituents have many options to communicate with Scott’s office, either through email on his website or through social media.
“We look forward to hearing from each and every one of our folks who contact us,” Exner said.
The Senate received more calls than House members in the first few weeks of the new administration because the Senate handles cabinet confirmations, said Kevin Bishop, press secretary for Graham.
Like all Senate offices, we’ve been receiving a good number of calls,” Bishop said.
Bishop also urged constituents to contact Graham’s office online if they have trouble getting through via phone.
Prior to her confirmation as education secretary this week, Betsy DeVos was at the center of a coordinated campaign to try to sway senators from confirming her. Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote in her favor. Both Scott and Graham voted in favor of her.
The Associated Press reported that the number of phone calls overwhelmed the Capitol phone system, and Senator Diane Feinstein, D-California, said her office had received 55,000 calls per day about Jeff Sessions' appointment as attorney general. Sen. Patty Murray’s office told Bloomberg she had received 50,000 calls a day regarding the DeVos nomination.
Senators said there's no intent to limit communication from constituents. Rather, it's a phone system limited by a finite number of lines in each staff office.
Followers of The Greenville News Facebook pages responded with both frustration at experiencing difficulty getting through to the senators and support for Trump's actions.
"If anything good comes of this debacle, perhaps it will be that we rediscovered civic engagement and terrified representatives who have been relying on apathy to ensure re-election for years," Katie Faulk posted.
David Underwood said he was "flooding in support of Trump's nominees and executive orders."
"Doesn't matter if you get through or not, Graham is only going to do things to represent himself, things he can benefit from," Josh Morgan wrote.
Dave Horner said, "I've been taking a multimedia approach. If the phone is jammed, I either send an email, or post card, or FB or Twitter them. I've done all of the above."
But Lee Miller said he had no need to call a senator. "I love all the nominees from President Trump... Build that Wall and Drain that Swamp."