House Ends 200-Year-Old Page Program

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The program that allowed high school students to serve as messengers and learn about Congress is coming to an end, House leaders announced Monday.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the $5 million annual expense of the House page program could no longer be justified in light of technological advances.

They explained that pages, historically charged with carrying messages to congressional members, committees and leadership offices, are now left with little to do in the age of Internet and e-mail.

Rep. John Dingell, the longest serving House member and a former page, was dismayed by the news.

"It's very sad," said the Michigan Democrat, who began his tenure in December 1955.

"There have been some scandals, but you'd be amazed how they've blossomed," he added. "Most kids get a great deal of good out of it. It taught me about government and gave me a real knowledge of what happens in the House. It gave me an appreciation of public service."

The program, which began almost 200 years ago, will end Aug. 31. The Senate will continue a similar program.

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