Leaders are ending the page program that began in the 1820s, allowing high school students to serve as messengers.
Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote House members Monday that the Internet and e-mail have left the pages with little to do. The House could no longer justify the $5 million annual expense. The stacks of bills and the packages they carried, the messages transmitted from one lawmaker to another, can all be delivered electronically.
Pages, usually high school juniors, live in their own dorm, have their own school and at times party like teenagers whose parents are away. The program, which has adult supervision, has nonetheless been touched by a few sex scandals.
The pages could be seen around the Capitol complex with their dark blazers and neatly trimmed hair, running at warp speed when summoned by a member of Congress. They all were smart, needing a minimum 3.0 grade average in core school subjects to get into the program.
The House program will end by Aug. 31, although the Senate page program will continue.