With the battle raging in Congress over the budget deficit, a group of college students say they wish lawmakers would just set their differences aside and solve the issue -- over a few rounds of beer.
That is the goal of a barely two-month-old super PAC with a goofy name created by two George Washington University frat brothers.
Daniel Bassali, 21, the president and co-founder of the Slam Dunks, Fireworks and Eagles Super PAC, said he considers the super PAC his summer project.
But the seemingly whimsical creation has actually taken off, as their team has grown to six college students, dedicated to raising funds over the next few months so they can host an event closer to Election Day for congressmen from both sides of the aisle. They say they will provide them with beers and a comfortable place to chat in a relaxed, non-partisan environment, in hopes of creating some progress on the budget crisis.
“I know we have a silly name and silly, goofy idea -- but we are dead serious,” Bassali said. “We are trying to do a lot more than get a few headlines.”
Initially, Bassali said he was just curious to see how hard it would be start a super PAC. Turns out, not that hard.
After filling out a few forms with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the IRS, he shared his side project with his roommate and co-founder Winslow Marshall.
“I said, ‘Hey dude, guess what I did today? I created a super PAC. Want to join me and see what we can do?’” Bassali said.
There was just one problem. Bassali said once their super PAC was a reality they weren’t quite sure what to do with it. Since Bassali leans right and Marshall leans left, they struggled to find a central mission they both agreed on.
“Finally him and I just sat down, had a couple of Bud Lights, and really thought to ourselves, as college students, what is it that we are most concerned about?” Bassali said. “What is it that we, as college students, feel is important enough to dedicate our time and finances to? And something that we both agreed on, despite our political differences, is our debt.”
Debt, and apparently the power of beer to resolve differences.
Bassali said they realized that if he and Marshall could come to an agreement by talking it out over a round of beers despite their differing views, politicians should be able to do the same.
“Why is it beyond our congressmen to sit down and have a beer, person to person instead of politician to politician, and hammer out their differences?” Bassali said. “And talk about how they really feel, without worrying about their political bases and without worrying about what the media is going to think … and find a serious solution to solve our problems.”
Their unusual name and goal has attracted attention, and Bassali said one group has responded in a big way: their college peers.
Bassali said they're seeing support from college students explode, with students as far away as Colorado sharing their website on social media and signing up for their cause. He also said college students are their biggest donors, not giving much but wanting to contribute.
Bassali says his team is currently focusing efforts on a $5,000 fundraising goal by the end of the summer, after which they will begin lobbying congressmen to attend their event. They are also working on their first policy memo: a four-page deficit reduction plan written by their Democratic policy director and Republican policy director.
Bassali hopes these efforts will make their goal of "using the collegiate approach to deficit reduction" a reality.