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Monday, January 14, 2013

Pages of the United States Congress: History and Program Administration

R. Eric Petersen
Specialist in American National Government

For more than 180 years, messengers known as pages have served the United States Congress. Pages must be high school juniors and at least 16 years of age. Several incumbent and former Members of Congress as well as other prominent Americans have served as congressional pages.

Senator Daniel Webster appointed the first Senate page in 1829. The first House pages began their service in 1842. Women were first appointed as pages in 1971.

In August 2011, House leaders announced the termination of that chamber’s page program.

Senate pages are appointed and sponsored by Senators for one academic semester of the school year, or for a summer session. The right to appoint pages rotates among Senators pursuant to criteria set by the Senate’s leadership. Academic standing is one of the most important criteria used in the final selection of pages. Selection criteria for House pages was similar when the page program operated in that chamber.

Prospective Senate pages are advised to contact their Senators to request consideration for a page appointment.

Date of Report: January 4, 2013
Number of Pages: 7
Order Number: 98-758
Price: $19.95

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