Student Body Presidents Ask Capitol Hill, ‘Do We Have a Deal Yet?’

Jul 20, 2011 5:03pm

ABC News' Sarah Parnass reports:

Oklahoma State University Student Body President Ashley Leonard has seen the debt ceiling debate from the inside, interning for her congressman this summer, but she knows it’s not just officials on Capitol Hill who are riled up.

Leonard and student body presidents from eight other colleges will gather Thursday afternoon at the National Press Club to tell the Federal government what they and over 1.5 million students think of the stalemate over the debt limit negotiations.

These student government officials will present a letter, signed by presidents at colleges and universities in 41 states and D.C., calling on President Obama and legislative leaders to come to a consensus on raising the debt ceiling, while supporting the Gang of Six’s deficit deal.

Though Leonard identifies as a Republican, she said support for the letter at her university came from both sides of the aisle.

“We weren’t urging Democrats or Republicans to – I guess – lean to the other side,” Leonard said. “We were just urging them to come up with some kind of compromise, so it really was a bipartisan letter.”

Mallory Davis, University of Georgia’s student body president, said she signed on because she hoped the plan would bring economic stability to the country by the time she graduates in 2013.

“I felt that this was a beautiful representation of the unifying effort that through technology and connectedness with campuses across the nation that student body presidents across the nation can work together for the greater good,” Davis said.

Former American University Student Government President Andy MacCracken described the event as an outlet for a group that has largely been voiceless in the debt ceiling debate.

“Across the board, we are the generation that has the most at stake in this debate, but we haven’t had a venue for expressing that,” MacCracken said.

“It’s going to be an opportunity for the young people in the country to finally offer their perspective on what’s going on.”

The idea for this grassroots campaign sprung out of conversations among friends at Georgetown University. In about a week, Georgetown Student Association leaders gathered support from their peers across the country.

On their Facebook page, event organizers solicited student feedback through Twitter. They invite others to “Add your voice by Tweeting @BarackObama and @SpeakerBoehner – #dowehaveadealyet?”

Ellen Larson of Butler University joined the discussion on Wednesday tweeting, “Hey @BarackObama & @SpeakerBoehner, the next generation is asking #dowehaveadealyet? || http://t.co/KoCqhwY

William O'Connor contributed to this report

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