These days, many tech-savvy lawmakers and their staffers have eschewed old-school BlackBerrys for shiny Apple products.
But late last week, they might have been wishing for their minimalist devices of yore (the allure of “Words With Friends” aside).
On Thursday afternoon, most iPhones and iPads issued by the House or connected to the official House network stopped receiving emails.
“Unrelated maintenance caused disruption with iOS devices,” said Dan Weiser, spokesman at the office of the House Chief Administrative Officer, about the operating system on which Apple products run. The CAO’s team oversees all tech issues in the chamber.
“We were troubleshooting something unrelated and some email went down for a while, affecting email in House iOS devices only,” Weiser continued. “Not everybody was affected: Mine was fine, which is why I didn’t know anything about it at first.”
Weiser said the majority of email accounts on iPhones and iPads were back up and running after a few hours and that only some users were going to “need personal attention” to restore their systems.
No one can say how much of a disruption this caused on a day when the House was in the thick of some serious legislative business, voting on reconciliation and wrapping up the first appropriations bill of the year.
Regardless, Democrats on the House Administration Committee had strong words.
“Members of Congress have become more and more reliant on mobile technology for floor proceedings, for their own security and to stay connected to their constituents,” a Democratic spokesman for the committee said. “It’s imperative that the House keep pace with changing technology and prevent mishaps like this from happening again.”