What does a Congressional Page do?

Sheri Cyprus

A congressional page transports documents, distributes the daily Congressional Record, helps in the chambers and cloakrooms, sits in on Congressional Sessions, and raises and lowers the flag on the capitol's roof. Not every congressional page will perform all of these duties, but these are among the duties performed by congressional pages. Being a congressional page allows a high school junior to earn a salary while being right in the middle of the United States government on Capitol Hill in the nation's capital, Washington, DC.

The US Capitol Building, the seat of the US congress.
The US Capitol Building, the seat of the US congress.

The position of a congressional page has been a part of the United States government for over 150 years. The first page was appointed by Senator Daniel Webster in 1829. House pages began serving in 1842. However, a woman did not serve as a congressional page until 1971. Pages for the majority party can double the number of pages for the minority party.

Pages may bring documents or notices to senators that are unable to leave the senate floor.
Pages may bring documents or notices to senators that are unable to leave the senate floor.

Senate pages live at the Daniel Webster Page Residence close to the Hart Senate Office Building. House pages live in the House Page Dormitory close to the Capitol. A congressional page serving the Senate for a semester session attends the Senate Page School, while a congressional page serving the House for a semester session attends the House Page School. Both schools are accredited junior year and college preparatory schools and offer extracurricular activities and Washington D.C. based learning.

Pages receive an annual rate of pay with payment for residence deducted. The residence hall fee includes all evening meals and some breakfasts. Pages must pay for their own uniforms. A congressional page sometimes attends complimentary concerts and shows.

A congressional page must be a high school junior and a minimum of sixteen years of age. A Member of Congress must sponsor and appoint a congressional page for either an academic semester during the school year, or a non-academic semester during the summer. Academic standing is the main criterion used in the selection of a congressional page. A prospective congressional page should have a good memory as delivery of documents from the Senate and House, between committees, the Library of Congress, and member's offices requires recognizing all of their party members and is a big part of what a congressional page does.

Prospective pages must call a Representative or Senator for an application as all congressional pages have to apply to be a congressional page. If local Members of Congress are not accepting applications, the prospective congressional page can contact a Representative or Senator from another state. Although most pages belong to the same political party as their Member of Congress sponsor, it is not necessary to be affiliated with the same party to become a congressional page.

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