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House Phone Lines Frozen After Barrage of Calls Over Health Care Reform

House phone lines were frozen Tuesday afternoon following a barrage of calls on the health care reform debate, with congressional opponents of the legislation crediting talk radio host Rush Limbaugh for the flood of opposition while the bill's supporters said they were getting calls of support.

"Phones and e-mails are going nuts on health care," Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., wrote on his Twitter page Tuesday afternoon, advising people to "keep trying."

Jeff Ventura, spokesman for the House's chief administrative officer, said Tuesday that the "the volume is clearly attributable to the significant interest in the health care bill."

Ventura did not say whether Limbaugh had anything to do with the spike in phone calls to various congressional offices. Limbaugh gave out the number for the Capitol switchboard on his radio show Tuesday, urging listeners to contact members of Congress in a last-ditch effort to oppose the $875 billion health care bill that is up for a vote in the House this week.

"Their phone numbers are published on their Web sites and in various directories anyway," Ventura said.

The Tea Party movement, which organized a rally on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, may also have contributed to the increased volume of calls.

One lawmaker, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who spoke at the protest, urged scores of activists to make phone calls to congressional offices to stop the health care measure from being passed.

Congressional Web sites also appeared to be affected, with several error messages reported on sites for House members, including Reps. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., Chris Lee, R-N.Y. and Joe Courtney, D-Conn.

Ventura reportedly told Roll Call that sites managed by the House have so far not been impacted -- only those operated by third-party vendors.

"It’s a third-party vendor that hosts 75 sites and all the sites that they host are experiencing a volume issue with regard to their Web traffic, specifically having to do with the e-mail function of their Web sites," he reportedly told the newspaper.

Even before Tuesday, members of Congress have been taking the pulse of their constituents.

"Two-thirds are absolutely opposed to the health care bill. Let’s kill this bill and save American freedom and our economy," California Rep. Ken Calvert, a Republican, told the Orange County Register.

Patrick Murphy, D-Pa., said he "listened to thousands of constituents, doctors, patients and health care providers" before announcing Tuesday that he would vote in favor of the bill, in particular its safeguards for health care consumers.

"The need for these protections hits home when a parent is laid off and the family loses their insurance, a child graduates from college but is unable to find a job that offers benefits, or a loved one can’t get coverage because of a pre-existing condition like asthma, diabetes, or cancer," Murphy said.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.