August 15, 2011
Dear Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi,
The first item of business for the First United States Congress was to swear in 59 Representatives and 21 Senators. The second item of business was to appoint messengers; and that tradition in the U.S. House of Representatives has continued for over 200 years.
On August 8, 2011, you issued a “Dear Colleague” letter concluding one of this country’s oldest traditions in the name of fiscal responsibility and technological advancement. Outlined in your letter were reasons for this difficult decision; yet it failed to clarify the results from the independent review process conducted this past year or state accurate costs associated with the program. This decision also was made without the direct involvement of the House Page Board or members long associated with the program.
House Pages remain a vital and necessary part of our political process. Responsible for aiding Members of Congress on the House floor, running important documents between House and Senate offices, and working with House staff on completing numerous tasks, Pages serve as the backbone of the People’s chamber. It is unclear how technological advancements have rendered the Page Program unnecessary when the services of the past House Page session have seen record usage. Rather than dismissing this opportunity indefinitely, we ask that you look to creative reform, such as tasking Pages to individual Congressional offices and working to assist different components within the House of Representatives, in addition to their current services.
In an effort to save approximately $5 million, you have cut a program that has benefited thousands of high school students representing all different races, creeds, religions and economic backgrounds. This program has assisted in sculpting numerous participant’s passion for public service, and without it, many of Congress’s brightest minds would not have graced the chamber they’ve come to admire.
The House Page Program cannot be quantified in a dollar amount or percentage, but only by the experiences of each participating student. Each story is unique; and each experience is worthwhile. The House Page Program has given hope and opportunity to those who have taken part, and we foresee that tradition will continue for years to come.
It is The House Page Network’s sincere wish that the decision to terminate the House Page Program be reconsidered. Our organization has identified numerous ways in which we can cut segments of this program to make it cost efficient for future sessions to come, pledging to reduce and cap the number of House Pages per session and to cut wasteful expenses to allow this program to exist on a sustainable path.
We look forward to working with your respective offices on identifying much needed areas of reform so that we may continue one of America’s most cherished traditions.
Save the Page Program