x

WNEP.com | News, Weather & Sports from WNEP-TV — Proud to Serve Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania

Busy Signals at U.S. Senators’ Offices

Try calling the office of either of Pennsylvania’s U.S. senators you’re likely to get a busy signal or a voicemail message. So if you want to tell y...

Try calling the office of either of Pennsylvania's U.S. senators you're likely to get a busy signal or a voicemail message.

So if you want to tell your senator you support or oppose any of President Trump's cabinet picks, it's hard to get through.

According to Senator Bob Casey's office, the number of calls to all of the U.S. Senate offices in Washington doubled the weekly record.

All the recent calls to the state and local offices of Senator Casey and Senator Pat Toomey have, at times, been too much for their staffs to handle.

Amy Zemek of Moscow wants the U.S. Senate to reject President Donald Trump's nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

"I think there's better-qualified candidates out there."

As the mother of a 14-year-old daughter with cerebral palsy, she wants Republican Senator Pat Toomey to go against his own party and vote "no" on DeVos' nomination.

But there's no answer when she calls Toomey's office.

"Not only can I not get ahold of him or a representative of his, I can also not even get a voicemail," said Zemek.

So how hard is it to reach a U.S. senator's office?

First, we tried Senator Toomey's office in Scranton. We also called Senator Toomey's office in Allentown, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and Washington D.C. but could not get through.

When we called Senator Casey's Scranton office, a staffer answered this call.

At the senator's offices in Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., we could leave a message except at Senator Casey's Philadelphia office where the mailbox was full.

Thursday morning, Senator Casey tweeted a picture of himself taking calls at his Washington office.

As for the missed calls, his press secretary writes, "when comparing this week to a week last January, our constituent correspondence across phones, emails, and letters is up almost 900 percent."

Senator Toomey's press secretary says staffers, "in both Pennsylvania and Washington are taking an 'all-hands-on-deck' approach in answering as many calls and emails as possible while also attending to other responsibilities."

Republican senators in other states claim activists are deliberately jamming phone lines with robocalls.

Amy Zemek says she's not an activist, just a mother who wants to make her voice heard.

"I find that alarming that such an important decision in our country is being made today," said Zemek. "He has a responsibility to listen to the people of Pennsylvania."

Staffers from both Senator Casey's and Senator Toomey's office say the best way to for people to let them about the president's cabinet picks is by email, simply because the phone lines are too busy right now.

You can email Senator Bob Casey here.

You can email Senator Pat Toomey here.