Ask Joe: Can lawmakers contact constituents during shutdown ?

Reported by: Joe Hart
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Updated: 10/09/2013 2:16 pm
Question:
Jim Hengels wrote in saying he sent an email to Senator Dean Heller in regards to the government shut down and he says he got a generic email back saying senate rules during the shutdown prevent Senator Heller from contacting constituents in the normal manner.
Jim wants to know what the Senator is talking about?

Answer:
clearly this is a challening time right now in Washington. I talked to Chandler Smith, a spokeswoman for Senator Heller today she says they've had to furlough about two-thirds of their staff during the shutdown. 
  As for communications, usually when somebody writes in with a question the senator's staff responds with a hard copy letter but they can't use the regular Senate mail system during the shutdown.
Senator Heller is doing what he can to respond to constituents by email but the email system doesn't allow them to personalize the emails they send out to their constituents.  
  So they are getting back to people who have concerns or questions, they're just doing in a little different manner.
   In fact another viewer had a question last week about the horses out in Palomino Valley. He called Senator Heller's office and the Senator himself answered the phone.
  Again, as long as the government is shut down, so is the regular mail system lawmakers rely on. 

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GuyByTheDoor - 10/8/2013 8:11 PM
0 Votes
Senator Heller is quite serious in that he has rid himself of his expensive staff, showed up for a photo op of him answering his phones HIMSELF and then turned on the email auto response. Does an email left on an auto respond equate to constituent services? If you are Republican it obviously does.

chas holman - 10/8/2013 6:58 PM
0 Votes
Shutdowns are SUPPOSED to hurt. That is the point. That is what is so frustrating by this SELF MADE GOP crisis. The truth takes few words.. The GOP has driven it’s self off the edge into utter insanty. (I wish I were only half joking). Only ONE party has the ability to open Government this minute if they WANT TO. And it isn’t the Democrats. Pride goeth before a fall, too bad they will drag us all down with them, and others who once called themselves patriots, will cheer the self inflicted Republican wound to the nation. I almost ENVY future history students reading and studying about the great GOP MANUFACTURED crisis of 2013. So much for recovery. The GOP couldn’t stand the President didn’t crash the markets like they demanded he would, so now they are going to fulfill their prophecy even if they have to do it themselves.
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