Nearly a month after the 184-year-old House Page Program came to an end amid concerns that it was expensive and unnecessary, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) has an idea for how to bring the pages back — sort of.
Norton said Wednesday she would introduce a bill that would replace the pages with a volunteer summer internship program. Unlike the pages — who were in high school and lived in dormitories — these interns would have to be in college or about to go to college, and would have to find their own housing.
“Although funding for the program has come to an end, the need for Pages has not,” Norton said in a statement issued by her office.
“The need for Pages has become apparent to House Members in the short time since the House Page Program ended. The Page Program provided a uniquely valuable learning experience to students and performed important tasks for Members and their offices. My bill removes the traditional impediments that brought down the Page Program—the costs associated with providing education and housing to the Pages, and caring for minors.”
House and Senate offices already host interns, but these interns would be different in that they would be tasked with duties previously performed by pages, presumably including raising flags over the Capitol and running some errands between lawmakers’ offices.
It’s unclear whether House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who came together to order an end to the page program, will look favorably on Norton’s proposal. Several House members and page alumni unsuccessfully lobbied the leaders to reverse their decision on the program before it ended Aug. 31.