Citing advances in technology that have reduced the need for services traditionally provided by congressional Pages, as well as the high cost of the program, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) have directed the Clerk of the House and other House officials to take the steps necessary to conclude the House Page Program. Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi have advised the Page Board of their decision, which was based in part on an independent review of the program conducted jointly by Strategic Assets Consulting and Fieldstone Consulting, Inc. Specifically, the independent review found:
- Pages, once stretched to the limit delivering large numbers of documents and other packages between the U.S. Capitol and House office buildings, are today rarely called upon for such services, since most documents are now transmitted electronically;
- Dozens of Pages, once needed on the House floor to deliver a steady stream of phone messages to lawmakers, are no longer required for that purpose as most Members are contacted directly via electronic devices;
- The annual cost to operate the program exceeds $5 million, not including capital costs associated with the Page dormitory and school; 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.
Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi issued the following statement:
“We have great appreciation for the unique role that Pages have played in the history and traditions of the House of Representatives. This decision was not easy, but it is necessary due to the prohibitive cost of the program and advances in technology that have rendered most Page-provided services no longer essential to the smooth functioning of the House. Although the traditional mission of the Page Program has diminished, we will work with Members of the House to carry on the tradition of engaging young people in the work of the Congress.”
Speaker Boehner and Leader Pelosi also directed the House Historian to prepare an official history of the House Page Program as a tribute to the many Pages, Members of Congress and congressional staff who have contributed to the program over the years.