Feb. 12, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Former Pages Aiming to Resurrect Program

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call
Former House pages Benjamin Talus (left) and Gabriela Perla meet with Rep. Chris Van Hollen while on Capitol Hill to urge Members to reinstate the page program.

In the meantime, former pages say it must be difficult to maintain smooth day-to-day operations in the House with fewer bodies on hand to run errands and mail, fly flags, deliver messages to lawmakers and ring the bells for votes.

It makes sense that Pelosi would start a program to put interns back in the Democratic Cloakroom, said Georgetown University sophomore Gabriela Perla, who worked in the Cloakroom as a page in 2009.

"It must be awful there now," she said Friday, recalling how hectic things could get during votes on the House floor.

Salley Wood, the communications director for the House Administration Committee who also handles press for the Office of the Clerk, said no one has been hired to replace the pages, though it is being considered.

The Democratic internship initiative will borrow college-age interns from Members' offices for six-week rotations, keeping the Cloakroom staffed at no extra cost.

But a Pelosi spokesman emphasized that, above all, it would be a chance to give "young people ... an opportunity to learn and participate in the daily operations of the House."

Friday's lobbying efforts were focused not on challenging senior Members of Congress to justify their decision to close the program, but to urge them to take any steps possible to bring it back in a way that would be beneficial to high school students in particular.

"Though [Pelosi's] plan is a positive first step, it's obviously not everything that we would like the program to be," Boren said.

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