Monday, August 08, 2011

House Shuts Down Its Page Program

WASHINGTON — In the more than 175 years since young people began coming to Washington to work as Capitol messengers, the experience of being a Congressional page has marked the start — and on occasion the scandalous end — of many a political career.

Now the ubiquitous teenage pages, with their navy blue blazers and earnest looks, will disappear from the House side of the Capitol — a victim, House leaders said Monday, of budget cuts and improvements in technology, like BlackBerrys, that have rendered their document-ferrying and message-taking duties obsolete.

The announcement came in a “Dear Colleague” letter to lawmakers from Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi of California, who said they decided to terminate the program after a review by outside consultants raised concerns about its costs and effectiveness.

The news caught alumni of the program, including current and former members of Congress, by surprise. Many called it short-sighted. (The pages will not disappear from the Capitol entirely; the Senate will still have them.)
Read the rest here.

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