Student Presidents to Washington: Do We Have A Deal Yet?

Jul 25, 2011 3:57pm

 

ABC News' Sherisse Pham (@sherisse) reports: The youth are in revolt. They are mad and they're not going to take it anymore. That's right, the next generation … wants to end the partisan gridlock surrounding the debt ceiling debate.

“We came together to tell our leaders to do something that's big, bold, bipartisan, balanced and to do it now and to focus on the next generation instead of the next election,” said Mike Meaney, student body president at Georgetown University.

More than 120 student body presidents representing about 2 million students in 40 states are calling on Washington to find common ground on raising the debt ceiling. They sent a letter to federal leadership on Thursday, and launched a social media campaign, Do We Have a Deal Yet?, urging students to tell the nation’s leaders to “put their parties, their politics and their pledges aside to do what is right for the country.”

In essence, these students are stumping to end the partisan politicking surrounding the debt debate.

“This issue ultimately affects us in the long run,” said Kaiyi Xie, student body president of the University of Maryland. Xie added that contrary to what some may think, the millennial generation pays attention to the debt debate on Capitol Hill.

"Every single one of my 26,000 constituents as a student body president, every single one of them is worried [and asking themselves]: Am I going to get a job in the future? Am I going to be able to provide for my family? Am I going to be secure in my future? And that means that they are concerned and they are listening to what Washington is doing right now because they want to see their future be better than what their parents had and their future be good for what their children are going to get."

The young leaders are reaching out to leaders from both parties. They are still waiting to hear back from congressional leadership. In the meantime the White House returned their call, and the student body presidents said they will have brief a conference call with the president — yes, President Barack Obama — on Tuesday.

Student body presidents are known to have some political ambitions themselves; indeed, former President Bill Clinton was president of his freshman and sophomore classes at Georgetown. But the unrelenting partisan bickering in Washington has left a bitter taste for politics for some of these young leaders.

“I have to say that it is quite disheartening to see such vitriolic, such dysfunction really, describe the current national conversation,” said Meaney. “But I'm hopeful that something is going to get done and that our leaders are going to come together on behalf of the country and do what's right and right now I think all of us are just focusing on August 2nd.”

We know of at least one other president focused on that date, too.

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