An unprecedented number of phone calls and emails from constituents concerned about the direction of the Trump administration, and wanting their Senators and Representatives to hold the GOP accountable, are flooding the offices and switchboards of the Capitol. By all reports, the pressure from voters is having a significant impact.
The American people are making their voices heard, and it is already getting results.
Communications Director for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reports an average of 1.5 million calls per day this week, and says you can tell "they’re working" by watching the activity on the floor of the Senate:
#Senate offices are being flooded with an average of 1.5 million calls/day this week. Just look at the floor and you'll see they're working
— Matt House (@mattwhouse) February 2, 2017
Chief Deputy Whip Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) says the Capitol switchboard received almost double the previous highest volume of calls this week:
The last three days have been the BUSIEST IN CAPITOL SWITCHBOARD HISTORY. By almost double. This is working. Keep it up and please RT.
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) February 2, 2017
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) confirmed "calls work":
Yes Brian, I agree. The calling makes a difference. https://t.co/OwBZ08mKxW
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) February 3, 2017
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) commented her office has received 55,000 calls on the single issue of opposition to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for Attorney General:
.@SenFeinstein tells me she's gotten 55,000 calls to her office urging her to vote against Jeff Sessions for AG. Fifty-five thousand.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) February 1, 2017
And the calls are not just working with Democrats: Alaska Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski indicated the constituent calls she received were what convinced her to opposed Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos:
GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski says constituent calls to her office against DeVos were a major reason why she is voting against her nomination
— Miranda Green (@mirandacgreen) February 1, 2017
In addition to phone calls, Congress is also receiving an outpouring of emails from concerned Americans. The National Education Association has reported more than one million emails have been sent in opposition to DeVos through its online form — far surpassing the previous largest mobilization that produced 284,000 emails to Congress.
Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) says the pressure is working and describes the GOP as being in "panic mode":
— Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) February 2, 2017
So many Americans are trying to get through to their Senators and Representatives, many are finding the phone lines busy despite repeated efforts. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is responsible for overseeing any House investigations into the Trump administration among other issues, has even modified its voice mail system to accommodate the call volume concerning Trump: "If you would like to provide information or make an inquiry relating to President Donald Trump, please press one."
And Nevada Republican Senator Dean Heller responded to complaints from constituents about difficulty getting through by sharing a notification from the Senate Sergeant of Arms that the Senate voicemail system is being overwhelmed by the volume of calls and steps are being taken to address delays:
Senate Sergeant at Arms still working to address issues through the entire Senate voicemail system. pic.twitter.com/t70acpBC2s
— Dean Heller (@SenDeanHeller) February 2, 2017
Despite the fact that both Democratic and GOP lawmakers are being overwhelmed by constituent input, Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner attempted to minimize popular concern by alleging "paid protesters" were being used to perform outreach. Rather than make false allegations, perhaps Gardner might want to commiserate with his Democratic colleague, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who merely evidenced a bit of polite pushback about the volume of communication from voters:
I have already announced I will vote no on all the nominees you mention below. Would appreciate it if you passed on to your friends. Thanks https://t.co/Z5h8vOYu3W
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) February 1, 2017
The takeaway here is: Direct action works. Your Senators and Representatives are the first line of defense to serve as a check on a power-hungry Executive Branch, and they pay attention when you contact them directly.