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BlackBerrys killed the page

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High school students interested in government might have considered working  as a page in the House of Representatives to gain some real political insight. Not anymore. Budget constraints, along with the prolific BlackBerry with all its emailing capabilities, have rendered the page obsolete. The decision to terminate the program came in a letter to members from Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, according to the New York Times:

While “dozens of pages were once needed on the House floor to deliver a steady stream of phone messages” to lawmakers, the leaders wrote, most members of Congress now rely on their mobile phones for instant communication. Documents, too, are transmitted electronically, leaving some pages without enough to do, the letters said.

The program was apparently also too expensive in these budget-cutting times. It cost nearly $80,000 per year to educate each page, according to the letter.

But the Capitol Hill helpers won't disappear altogether. While the House has terminated the program, pages will still work on the Senate side.

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