Combs Spouts Off

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House can’t handle flood of emails

Posted by Richard on September 30, 2008

According to The Hill:

The House is limiting e-mails from the public to prevent its websites from crashing due to the enormous amount of mail being submitted on the financial bailout bill. 

As a result, some constituents may get a 'try back at a later time' response if they use the House website to e-mail their lawmakers about the bill defeated in the House on Monday in a 205-228 vote.

… 

The CAO issued a “Dear Colleague” letter Tuesday morning informing offices that it had placed a limit on the number of e-mails sent via the “Write Your Representative” function of the House website. It said the limit would be imposed during peak e-mail traffic hours.

“This measure has become temporarily necessary to ensure that Congressional websites are not completely disabled by the millions of e-mails flowing into the system,” the letter reads.

A flood of millions of emails, almost all against the Paulson bailout plan, goes a long way toward explaining why the Democrats played to lose yesterday's bailout plan vote:

"Clyburn was not whipping the votes you would have expected him to, in part because he was uncomfortable doing it, in part because we didn't want the push for votes to be successful," says one leadership aide. "All we needed was enough to potentially get us over the finish line, but we wanted the Republicans to be the ones to do it. This was not going to be a Democrat-passed bill if the Speaker had anything to say about it."

During the floor vote, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Democrat Conference chair Rahm Emanuel could be seen monitoring the vote on the floor, and gauging whether or not more Democrat votes were needed. Clyburn had expressed concerns, says the leadership aide, of being asked to press members of the Black and Hispanic caucuses on a bill he was certain those constituencies would not want passed.

"It worked out, because we didn't have a dog in this fight. We negotiated. We gave the White House a bill. It was up to the Republicans to get the 100 plus votes they needed and they couldn't do it," said another Democrat leadership aide.

Emanuel, who served as a board member for Freddie Mac, one of the agencies that precipitated the economic crisis the nation now finds itself in, had no misgivings about taking a leadership role in tanking the bill. "He was cheerleading us along, mothering the votes," says the aide. "We wanted enough to put the pressure on the Republicans and Congressman Emanuel was charged with making it close enough. He did a great job."

The Democrats weren't about to take the lead in passing this hugely unpopular bill. They knew they could count on their allies in the media to make the Republicans look bad no matter what happened, as long as the vote was close. So they did their best to assume the role of disinterested bystanders. And judging by today's news coverage, they're mostly getting away with it.

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2 Responses to “House can’t handle flood of emails”

  1. Sherrolyn Mincey said

    Someone should check snoopes on Michele O’Bama’s thesis paper at Princeton. I have a copy of information. If you wish I will email it to you.

  2. rgcombs said

    I guess you’re talking about this Snopes.com entry. But what does it have to do with the bailout bill or the flood of emails?

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