GUSA President Mike Meaney (SFS ’12), former Senator Nick Troiano (COL ’12), and other members of the executive are leading student body presidents from over one hundred different national universities in an effort urging a speedy, “bipartisan” consensus on raising the debt ceiling.
Meaney and other student body presidents will present a petition on the issue Thursday at 1:00 p.m. at the National Press Club. He hopes that this letter will recreate the media attention of a similar petition last year urging action on now-scrapped plans for energy education. The petition has been signed by student governments representing over 1.8 million students nationwide.
The Congressionally-set debt ceiling allows the United States to meet previously agreed-to debt obligations. Failing to raise the debt ceiling will cause the United States to default on the treasury bonds it has already issued to fund the deficit spending of the past decade or so. In the short term, this would cause a government shutdown as the U.S. is unable to borrow to meet its immediate needs.
More broadly, a government default would force a rise in the interest rates on now-risky treasury bonds. Under such a scenario, markets would be sent into a panic as investors expect borrowing costs to rise across the economy. The resulting freeze in borrowing would likely send the U.S. back into recession.
President Barack Obama has proposed a plan with $4 trillion in spending cuts and $1 trillion in revenue increases, including raising the Social Security age. A bipartisan “Gang of Six” in the Senate has proposed a similar measure. House Republicans have held firm on their own plan for zero tax increases and have come out with a new proposal that includes a balanced budget amendment to the constitution.
The student petition as it stands right now contains no partisan policy recommendations. “We’re not there to tell them what to do; we’re there to tell them to do their job,” said Troiano.