The 225 exchange in the 202 area code, serving the House of Representatives complex, was jammed on Tuesday, with some callers getting busy signals. The computer servers seemed to be working, based on a random downloading of members' websites, though they had crashed Monday night after President Obama urged people to contact their representatives during his nationally televised speech about the debt ceiling crisis.
Congress seemed to be in disarray Tuesday, with hardline tea-party Republicans in the House reacting cooly to the stopgap plan floated by their own nominal leader, Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.
Obama and Boenher, who also spoke to the nation Monday night, seemed to be laying the groundwork for political blame. To the president, the congressional GOP is threatening the full faith and credit of the U.S. because it is not willing to compromise. "Every man cannot have his way in all things," Obama quoted Thomas Jefferson. And Boehner said it was the White House that was unwilling to offer real spending cuts to get a "grand bargain" debt deal done.
Truth is, if the nation's credit rating is downgraded and higher borrowing costs ripple through the economy, there will be plenty of anger and blame for both sides.