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House to end page program

Aug. 8, 2011 at 5:44 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- The two most ideologically opposite but powerful House leaders jointly announced the end of the congressional page program that goes back more than 200 years.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi D-Calif., said Monday the House page program, which can be traced back to the First Continental Congress of 1774, will end as of Aug. 31, The Hill reported.

The program, which allowed high school students to work for a semester during their junior year or during the summer acting as couriers or delivering messages, has been undermined by both technology and scandal.

Messages can be delivered expeditiously electronically making the page program not cost effective, the report said.

In 2006, the page program garnered unwanted national attention when then-Rep. Mark Foley R-Fla., was caught sending sexually explicit messages to at least one former page. Foley eventually resigned in disgrace as the scandal unfolded.

The House leaders said in their statement the cost to operate the program runs upward of $5 million.

"This decision was not easy, but it is necessary," Boehner and Pelosi wrote in their statement.

Noting that, the leaders said they "will work with members of the House to carry on the tradition of engaging young people in the work of the Congress."

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