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The Congressional Budget Office has been flooded with calls from across the nation from people who want to be part of CBO’s count of those calling for public hearings on the U.S. Senate’s health reform bill.

But the CBO isn’t keeping count of those calls, contrary to an Internet hoax that has spread widely on social media this week, CBO spokeswoman Deborah Kilroe told Carolina Public Press on Wednesday.

Emphasizing that CBO is independent and doesn’t advocate for policies, Kilroe explained that such a count wouldn’t be appropriate for the agency.

CBO has been explaining the situation to those who call and encouraging them to redirect their efforts, whatever their positions on the legislation, to contacting their members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, she said.

However, with a high volume of calls, a large percentage of callers are forced to leave a message, falsely believing that their message will go toward a count of such calls. Many of these people are in turn reporting back to social media about how easy it was and encouraging others to do the same.

There’s no indication of how the hoax began or why. It could have been an attempt to harass the CBO or to squander the energy of those who were likely to respond, mostly opponents of the Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. It may have been some type of elaborate phishing attempt, like many social media hoaxes that encourage people to repost content. Or the hoax could just have been a practical joke.

Office numbers for WNC delegation in Washington

For those in Western North Carolina who do want to contact their elected representatives in Washington, here’s a phone list for their offices.

  • Sen. Richard Burr: (202) 224-3154
  • Sen. Thom Tillis: (202) 224-6342
  • Rep. Mark Meadows: (202) 225-6401
  • Rep. Patrick McHenry: (202) 225-2576
  • Rep. Virginia Fox: (202) 225-2071

Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor is the managing editor of Carolina Public Press. Contact him at ftaylor@carolinapublicpress.org.

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