House leaders end page program

House Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerOvernight Finance: GOP makes its case for impeaching IRS chief | Clinton hits Trump over housing crash remarks | Ryan's big Puerto Rico win House GOP changes rules to thwart Dems Ryan secures big win with bipartisan Puerto Rico deal MORE (R-Ohio) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced they were ending the House page program.

As of Aug. 31, the program — which employs nearly 70 high school students to serve as messengers and couriers on the House floor and around the Capitol complex — will be no more, according to a joint statement issued late Monday afternoon.

ADVERTISEMENT
The program has been in existence for nearly 200 years. It gives students the opportunity to work and attend high school in Congress for a semester during their junior year, or for several weeks during the summer.

Citing the “prohibitive cost of the program and advances in technology,” BoehnerJohn BoehnerOvernight Finance: GOP makes its case for impeaching IRS chief | Clinton hits Trump over housing crash remarks | Ryan's big Puerto Rico win House GOP changes rules to thwart Dems Ryan secures big win with bipartisan Puerto Rico deal MORE and Pelosi wrote that “this decision was not easy, but it is necessary.”

According to a House leadership aide, the decision to eliminate the program has been a year in the making.


While the page program as it previously existed will end, Boehner and Pelosi wrote that they “will work with Members of the House to carry on the tradition of engaging young people in the work of the Congress.”

The program came under national scrunity in the fall of 2006, when it was revealed that then-Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) sent sexually explicit messages to at least one former page. Foley resigned a few weeks later as the scandal shook Capitol Hill.

In their statement, the leaders noted the pages, who used to deliver documents around the Capitol complex, are rarely used anymore because most documents are transmitted electronicallly. They also noted the cost to operate the program exceeds $5 million and the “per Page” cost per school year is between $69,000 and $80,000, “more than the most expensive boarding schools, as well as most colleges and universities.”

The Senate is not currently reviewing its page program for possible elimination, according to the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOvernight Defense: VA chief 'deeply' regrets Disney remark; Senate fight brews over Gitmo Overnight Healthcare: House loosens pesticide rules to fight Zika | A GOP bill that keeps some of ObamaCare | More proof of pending premium hikes The Trail 2016: Digging up dirt MORE (D-Nev.).

Erik Wasson contributed to this story.

— This story was updated at 4:03 p.m.


More news from The Hill:
♦ Obama vows US ‘always will be a AAA country’
♦ DNC chairwoman blames Tea Party 'tyrants'
♦ S&P downgrades Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
♦ White House to issue waivers for 'No Child Left Behind'
♦ Report finds heavy lobbying on FAA bill
♦ Groups to Obama: Use 'any legal means' to halt fracking
♦ DHS hosts cybersecurity conference