NPR : News

Filed Under:

'Hello, This Is Your Senator Speaking. No, Really'

Many congressional staff members have been furloughed by the government shutdown. But that hasn't stopped the phones from ringing, or tourists from visiting.

So members of Congress have been forced to take on some additional responsibilities this week, in addition to legislating — the kinds of tasks typically handled by junior staffers and interns.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., are among those personally answering their office phones.

Heller even sent out a photo of himself talking to constituents over the phone on his official Twitter account Wednesday, encouraging his colleagues to do the same. And Manchin, who had to downsize his office from 27 staffers to 11, according to ABC News, also shared a photo of himself taking calls in a tweet Thursday that included his office phone number.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told NPR he, too, has taken over some of the phone-answering duties in his office with much of his staff at home.

"I can say that we're having a balance of positive and negative calls that I'm personally answering," he said.

Other members of Congress with a suddenly skeletal staff have begun leading tours of the Capitol building for their constituents, a job often left for interns to handle.

Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and John Boozman, R-Ark., each took a break from the budget battle Thursday to show residents of their respective home states around the Capitol, which remains open during a shutdown, unlike the national monuments and museums in Washington.

Tamara Keith contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Top Gear' Returns With New Hosts On BBC America

The massively popular BBC show, Top Gear, relaunches Monday on BBC America. Following the painfully public downfall of its former host, the new hosts have big gears to grind.
NPR

'Sweetbitter' Is A Savory Saga Of Restaurant Life And Love

Oysters, cocaine, fine wine, love triangles: Stephanie Danler's debut novel Sweetbitter follows a year in the life of a young woman working at a top-tier Manhattan restaurant.
WAMU 88.5

Ralph Nader: The Future Of The Progressive Movement In The D.C. Region

Iconic consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader joins us for a conversation about civic engagement, the role of the media, and the future of the progressive movement in the D.C. region.

WAMU 88.5

Hillary Clinton's Emails

Hillary Clinton is under pressure after a State Department report criticized her use of a private email server: what's in the report, potential security risks and whether it could affect Secretary Clinton's bid for the White House.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.