WASHINGTON — With President Barack Obama during his speech Monday night urging people to contact their representatives on the looming debt crisis, Nevadans in Congress reported a surge of calls and emails today .
Freshman Rep. Joe Heck reported fielding 1,500 emails and 300 phone calls, about three times the normal volume.
Sen. Dean Heller, a fellow Republican, received 600 emails and 250 calls, about double his normal communications from Nevadans, his office said.
Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Democrat, found 30 messages on her answering machine when she got to work Tuesday morning and received “hundreds” of calls and emails during the day. But her spokesman David Cherry said the volume was “nothing out of the ordinary.”
Democrat Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, who is a central figure in the congressional debate over the debt issue, received 2,557 calls, including 558 by midmorning, spokesman Zac Petkanas said. It is notable for Reid to get more than 500 calls on a particular issue, he said.
Contacts to Heller’s office were “a mixed bag,” spokesman Stewart Bybee said. “It’s all the way from ‘get a deal done,’ to ‘raise taxes’ to ‘don’t raise taxes,’ ” Bybee said.
Petkanas said calls to Reid were “overwhelmingly” supportive of Obama’s call for compromise and “a reasonable approach that allows us to avert a crisis.”
Traffic to Reid’s website on Monday showed a 550 percent increase over the previous Monday, when the prospect of a government debt default was a big concern but not yet on verge of crisis.
At its midday peak, the House received about 40,000 telephone calls, officials reported, and the House switchboard was near capacity. Heck spokesman Darren Littell said some callers reported getting busy signals before breaking through.
Though websites also experienced heavy traffic, none of the Nevada lawmakers reported a problem.
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DadTetreault.or 202-783-1760.