Phone lines, websites busy as people weigh in on debt limit
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's appeal for Americans to let their lawmakers know how they feel about the debt limit debate may be having an impact.
Congressional officials say the House switchboard is near capacity, and they're suggesting using backup numbers. Websites are also experiencing heavy traffic.
But it's not clear whether the callers are siding with Obama or with house Speaker John Boehner.
In a prime-time speech last night, Obama called for compromise, and urged Americans to contact their lawmakers. In a rebuttal, Boehner said he had tried his hardest to get a deal, but that Obama "would not take yes for an answer."
Boehner's plan is a short-term bill that would cut spending by about $1.2 billion and extend the debt ceiling for about six months. It could come to a vote Wednesday.
In the Senate, Democratic leader Harry Reid challenged Republicans to back his own legislation -- which includes government cuts and no additional taxes. He says it's "everything the Republicans have demanded wrapped up in a bow and delivered to their door."
At a closed-door session for House Republicans today, Majority Leader Eric Cantor is said to have spelled out the options -- allowing default, backing the Reid plan, or calling Obama's bluff by backing the Boehner option.