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House Speaker John Boehner and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi say they will end the congressional page program, an initiative that brings high school students to Capitol Hill to work alongside elected officials.

“The decision is a historic mistake and brings to an untimely end a nearly two-century-old American tradition,” writes Miles Taylor for the Daily Caller internet news site:

Ever since the country’s founding, when young boys worked as “messengers” in the First Continental Congress, America’s youth have played a role in the legislative process as “pages” and have had a chance to see the operations of the world’s greatest democracy up close.

Yet the decision to axe the program seems to have been made without consulting most members of Congress, many of whom have long cherished the program’s value and its unique place in American history.

Instead, the weak rationale used to kick America’s young people out of the legislative process was formulated by two private consulting firms, which counseled Boehner and Pelosi that the program was no longer needed, in part due to “advances in technology” that have made having pages in the U.S. House less essential.

The same simplistic logic could be used to conclude that, in an age of Skype and Twitter, members of Congress themselves need not come all the way to Washington to cast their votes.

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