Senior Brandon Mitchell, UM’s Student Government (SG) president, was part of a group of 120 student body presidents from across the country that released a letter today calling on President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders to reach a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling and reduce long-term budget deficits.
“While you may disagree over which party shoulders more blame for our current situation, one thing is certain – young people will shoulder the consequences of gridlock during a time that requires bold action,” the letter read.
Mitchell is part of the student-led initiative “Do We Have a Deal Yet?” which began on Georgetown University’s campus last week.
“It comes down to what we’re elected to do,” Mitchell said. “Every student at the University of Miami is going to be affected by the conversation in Congress right now. We’re all going to be homeowners and senior citizens some day … we are the next generation.”
After 72 hours after its inception, “Do We Have a Deal Yet?” received more than 70 signatures from student body presidents across the country. As of Thursday, the letter had a total of 120 signatures, representing almost 2 million students nationwide.
“We are not here to tell our leaders what to do,” said Mike Meaney, Georgetown’s student body president and a co-founder of the initiative, at a press conference Thursday. “We are simply here to tell them to lead.”
Meaney was joined by seven other campus leaders at the Thursday event in D.C., including Mitchell. The student body presidents wrote that they support the efforts of the “Gang of Six” in the Senate as a “realistic framework from which to work.”
“Are we going to get a real deal? Or are we going to a get a raw deal?” Mitchell said at the conference. “A real deal … is one that is bold, balanced and bipartisan – such as the one offered by the ‘Gang of Six’ in the Senate, which reduces deficits by $3.7 trillion over 10 years, by cutting spending and closing tax loopholes. We may each stand to lose something important to us individually, but we all stand to gain a more secure, prosperous economic future.”
Come August 2 – if federal leaders do not agree on a deal to cut the nation’s budget deficit and extend its borrowing power – the government will default on payments, possibly resulting in another nationwide recession, the stoppage of Social Security checks, higher interest rates and the erosion of the United States’ creditworthiness.
The students are sending copies of their letter to members of Congress and are encouraging the public to join a conversation about the issue on Twitter using the hashtag #dowehaveadealyet. Read more about the initiative at dowehaveadealyet.com.