How to: Congress

Written by:
Jordy Barry; Green Valley HS – Class of 2011

Table of Contents
About the Author..............................................................................................3
Approaching legislation....................................................................................5
Finding evidence..............................................................................................6
Writing points...................................................................................................7
Final preparation...............................................................................................8
Speech structure................................................................................................9
Presenting a good speech................................................................................11
Standing out....................................................................................................13
What to know before a tournament................................................................15
What to bring..................................................................................................16
Constitution based arguments.........................................................................17
Evidence validity arguments..........................................................................20
Bill vs. resolution arguments..........................................................................21
Refuting points...............................................................................................23
Cross – examination questions.......................................................................25

Main motions to know....................................................................................27

About the Author
Hi, I'm Jordy Barry. I want to make this manual as personable as possible, so
it won't be incredibly serious and boring to read. For those of you that don't
know me, I was on the Green Valley forensics team from 2007 – 2011, and
competed in Congressional Debate all four years of high school. I tried LD
once my sophomore year, PF once my freshman year, and once my senior
year (they had a tournament that was only CX, PF, and LD) but Congress was
always where my heart was. My sophomore year, I qualified to nationals in
House, my junior year in the Senate, and then qualified in Senate again my
senior year, making Semi-finals (top sixty in the nation). Throughout this
manual, I'll be explaining how I researched, and how I learned to do
Congress how I did. My style was always extraordinarily different to
everyone else in the Golden Desert district. When I say style, I literally mean
everything I did was different: how I presented myself, the points I made in
my speeches, how I found research, and other little tricks I learned to stand
out from a room of twenty or so kids. A lot of the things I learned, I learned
from competing on the national circuit. Other things, I was inspired by and
made my own. Every thing else was creativity on my part. I don't suggest that
you copy everything I do, but keep in mind everything I tell you, and try to
make Congress your own. It wouldn't be fun if you were just fulfilling the
exact same mold I did. Enjoy Congress, have fun with it! But on a more
serious note, Golden Desert Congress definitely needs some work. I learned
this my sophomore year, when I went to Cal State, Long Beach (my very first
out of town tournament). The competitors from California, Arizona, and
other parts of the country were absolutely phenomenal, and did Congress in a
way that I'd never seen it done before. Since that day, I competed at every
single out of town tournament my school went to, and not only competed, but
also observed those that I could learn from. I've met and befriended people
that ended up making top six in the nation, and I can tell you, they didn't
become who they did overnight. Congress takes time, practice, and skill.
Anyone who doubts Congress, or who demeans it, doesn't know what it takes

to do well. They haven't seen national circuit Congress, and to be quite frank,
our district doesn't exactly prepare you for doing well on the national circuit
in this event. In fact, when I made semi-finals my Junior year, and semifinals and finals at Berkeley my Senior year, I was the only person from
Nevada. On top of that, the fantastic contenders I had in those rounds were
surprised when I told them that I went to school in Henderson/Las Vegas,
Nevada, and not California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, or another state that
excels in Congress. They then continued to say that it was their first time
competing with someone from Nevada in Congress. This absolutely saddened
me, which is why I have created this manual. I love Congress with all of my
heart, and I want to do everything in my power to start building up this event
in our district. I believe that we all have the potential to do well on a national
level, but we need to start knowing how to progress to that point, as well as
what to expect. Though I will be in college, please feel free to contact me,
whether I know you or not. I want to help our district become the strongest it
can be in Congressional debate, so please do not hesitate to ask me any
questions. I will leave my contacts below if you chose to utilize them. I wish
you all of the luck in the world in your future Congressional endeavours, and
I hope you find this manual to be of assistance!
Yours truly,

Senator Barry
P.S. This manual is aimed toward people who already know the basics of
Congressional debate. If you do not, you should probably learn the rules,
terminology, and how to preside by visiting these links:
http://www.nflonline.org/uploads/AboutNFL/Congress%20Parliamentary%20Procedural
%20Instruction.pdf
http://www.nflonline.org/uploads/AboutNFL/Competition_Events_Guide_v2.pdf

Contact Information:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jordy.barry

Cell phone: (702) 376-0638
Skype: jordyb92

Approaching Legislation
There's a few key things to look at when looking at a piece of legislation.
1.) You need to determine whether it is a Bill or a Resolution. Obviously, bills
will have sections, and resolutions will have whereas clauses. How you
debate those differently will be discussed later. Just know for now that a bill
means that you need to have the specificity to be implemented into society as
it is, without any revisions. It needs to include the date it will be
implemented, where funding will be appropriated from, who will be
enforcing the piece of legislation, as well as what the plan of action is. If it
does not include these items, or if the specifications are illogical (the wrong
branch to be funding something), you already have a few ideas for the
negation side. Too many people over look this, so use it to your advantage.
As for a resolution, we are debating the idea of this happening, and specifics
do not matter until it is passed and becomes a bill. Do not run arguments that
it doesn't say when it will be implemented, etc. That does not matter, and
you'll look quite ignorant to the people that understand Congress well.
2.) Define any key terms. Some may be common knowledge, but it can
definitely come in handy to already have “big words” and “key words”
defined. My senior year at county, there was a controversy in my round as to
what an estate tax really was. A couple of kids that did not have it defined
and thought it was an increased tax on all housing. As a result, they ran
arguments as to how this would effect businesses. However, if they had done
their research, and looked up the definition of an estate tax, they would have
understood that it was really a tax on the state of a deceased person. Trust me,
cited definitions come in handy.
3.) If a piece of legislation is incredibly complicated, write a sentence above
the section/whereas clause simplifying what section is truly saying. This way,
if someone calls you out in cross examination about how you interpreted a
specific line, you won't be fumbling around. You'll have your exact

interpretation right in front of you. You don't want to have to go back and reread that horrible line. Just explain what you've already written. I've found
this incredibly helpful (more so on the national circuit).

Finding Evidence
If you can find unique evidence on topics, this will DEFINITELY help you.
1.) A lot of noob debaters will use websites such as: www.idebate.org,
www.opposingviews.com, www.procon.org, and websites to this effect.
Because of this, I want you to print off, or at least read the arguments on
these websites, but don't use any of them. Now, you know what the majority
of an in town chamber will be running on both the affirmative and the
negative. I always print off these files to preempt the arguments from other
senators.
2.) You need to find new and unique evidence. How I did this was I first
would use key words of my piece of legislation and type in 2011 New York
Times afterward, 2011 Washington Post, 2011 Wall Street Journal, 2011 The
Economist, 2011 The Telegraph, 2011 The Guardian, and other reliable news
sources. That way, you have recent evidence. You want it to have at least
been this year, but preferably in the past three months.
3.) If it is a foreign topic, you do not just want an American perspective. Try
to find international news sources, such as the aforementioned Telegraph and
Guardian. If you are debating something about Chechnya for instance, you
want evidence from Chechnya, Georgia, Russia, and other involved nations.
That will give your speech a lot more legitimacy.
4.) If it is a domestic topic, and could have constitutionality arguments, it's
always good to have a look at the Constitution, and what amendments
conflict with it. HOWEVER, be aware that when using these arguments, they
can easily be torn down if they know my secret block against them, which
will be discussed later.
5.) In contention to constitutionality arguments, SUPREME COURT CASES
ARE THE BEST!!! I'm a big fan of these. Type in key parts of the legislation
and then “Supreme Court cases”, and try to find any rulings that prove that a
specific section of the legislation is unconstitutional. Or, what I personally
LOVE to do, is if I know that many people are going to run things such as “It
violates the first amendment!” or “It violates the first and the fifth

amendment!” prove through a Supreme Court case that it does not violate
either amendment. This will be discussed more under the Constitution based
arguments section.

Writing Points
1.) What I personally like to do is make sure that I have four taglines/points
for the affirmative and for the negative sides. I will end up only using two
points in my speeches, but in case one of my points has been touched on, I
still have a few other ideas.
2.) I wouldn't pre-write points or speeches before round. If you do this, you
will tend to read off of a piece of paper, which truly takes away from the
presentation of Congress. Think of Congress as extemp debate. Know your
evidence, and know what you're talking about, and bring up a few notes.
3.) During round, I flow a lot (which will be talked about later). During
round, while I'm figuring out which two points I want to run, I start to write
stuff down in regards to my points (and if I want to mention other senators
who mentioned something that ties in with my point), but don't completely
write a pre-written speech, especially out of town or at nationals. You will be
a joke if you do (trust me.. I learned this my sophomore year at Long Beach..
it's how experienced Congressional debaters determine who the noobs are).
4.) As cliché as this sounds, ensure that you explain your points. Obviously
your judges aren't stupid, but pretend that they know nothing. Explain
complex topics in lamest terms. Explain the current controversy, and how this
legislation solves or doesn't solve, and why it does/doesn't solve. Sometimes
we will receive a piece of legislation in which we will know nothing about
the topic, but because knowledgeable through research. Don't assume the
judges know the background to everything. Provide history! This will give
you a gold star in the judges book (aka the ranking sheet!)
5.) Some people have great point ideas, but aren't able to explain it correctly
(usually because they do not fully understand it themselves). If you do not
understand a point, do NOT run it. The explanations are usually shallow, and
the judges won't be impressed.
6.) I usually only ran two points because I did a lot of refutation. My advice
is to not run more than three. I've seen someone in town try and cram six

points into a three minute speech. Okay, think about this logically. You want
to go in depth in your speech. How in depth are you going to be going with
SIX points in THREE minutes? Stay with two/three. I recommend two only
because refutation is a MUST in my book.

Final Preparation
1.) The last couple of days before a tournament, you should practice
verbalizing your points. At in town tournaments, I extemporaneously
presented my speeches (besides the first one on the docket – just in case I had
to go towards the beginning and did not have time to collect my thoughts). At
national circuit tournaments, you should practice saying the points that you
do have prepared, just in case you run them. At these types of tournaments,
you cannot afford to stumble in speeches. On top of that, have points written
down is one thing, but being able to eloquently explain them to a group of
people is another.
2.) You also want to make sure that you have everything organized. That way,
you are not fumbling through mass amounts of papers in round; it looks
incredibly unprofessional. Have your evidence organized by piece of
legislation, divided by affirmative/negative, and any other means of filing
that you deem necessary. I had my own system, but as long as you can find
files in a timely fashion, you'll be good.
3.) Don't be predictable. For instance, if you always run economic arguments,
try constitutionality. In my last two years of Senate, I was able to easily
predict the types of arguments my biggest competition had. Because of this,
I'd literally have pre-flows that said: Senator (insert name here): 1.) Point:
Blah blah blah Block: Blah blah blah and so on. (P.S. When people start
becoming predictable, this may help you. I always do this before
tournaments). Mix things up, and always try new things. Don't play it safe in
Congress. Never get comfortable.
4.) Try pre-flowing! Other debates do it, and I've never understood why
Congress kids don't utilize it more often. I always pre-flow the arguments I
am aware of on both sides. I will then number them. Afterward, I will have
certain pieces of evidence numbered and filed away under a tab for preflowed evidence. This way, in round, lets say someone brings up the fourth
point you pre-flowed. You re-read the block you wrote, pull out the evidence

that you filed that corresponds with your fourth point (I'll usually put I giant
[4] at the top of it) so that you can cite and date it correctly, and BAM. You
have an already organised argument against the opposing side.

Speech Structure
I. Attention grabber.
A. This could include a quote, famous saying, or short story.
B. Even better, you could condemn the other side “Affirmative Senators
such as (name) and (name) should be absolutely ashamed that they are trying
to implement a system in which (make it sound as terrible as possible). This
is why I stand before you today …..
C. A short refutation (THIS IS MY FAVOURITE, AND SO LEGIT IF
YOU MASTER IT). E.g. Senator soandso, you stated in your speech that
blahblahblah, but what you, and other negative senators fail to realise is that
blahblahblah, which is why I stand before you …..
II. State your side.
A. Pretty self explanatory. Something to the effect of “Ladies and
Gentlemen of this Student Congress, this is precisely why I stand before you
today in the strongest affirmation/negation on the resolution/bill ….(leading
to part III).
III. Preview statement.
A. Essentially, you should have mini tag lines for your points. This way,
judges can easily follow your speech, fellow senators know what points you
will be making to prepare themselves, and it provides excellent organisation
for your speech. Judges never like speeches that are all over the place.
B. Preview statements can be done as followed: “.... for the following
two areas of analysis, then I will move on to refuting some of the affirmative/
negative arguments brought up in today's debate. First, blahblah, and second,
blahblah. Now moving on to my first area of analysis..”
IV. Point One.
A. Repeat your tagline, even though you just said it ten seconds ago.

B. Move on to your point.
V. Point Two.
A. Repeat point two's tagline.
B. State your point.
VI. Refute other senators.
A. I will be doing an entire section on how you can effectively do this
in many different fashions.
B. All you need to know for now is that you should refute others at the
end. It will be the strongest, most impacting part of your speech.
VII. Concluding statement.
A. Make sure you restate what side you were on.
B. I personally did not do this, but if you're running a bit short on time
(you have 20 seconds to kill), you can quickly reiterate your points. E.g. So
for the reasons of (first tagline rephrased) and (second tagline rephrased) I
stand before you today in the strongest negation. I never did this only because
I had so much refutation I had to cram in.
C. The classic: “And it is for these reasons and more that I stand in the
strongest affirmation on the bill to (blahblah) and I am now open for cross
examination, and if need, points of clarification.

Presenting a good Speech
Presentation in Congress is absolutely imperative for success. Most people
generally stand behind a lectern/ podium or just stand in place. One of my
strategies in Congress was to make sure I worked the room. It keeps people's
attention, shows command of the chamber, confidence, and it also looks
polished once you master it. Essentially, this is what I did:
When I was doing my Intro, I would be in the middle of the chamber:

Then I'd slowly walk to the right as I introduced my first area of analysis:

Then slowly walk to the left as I introduced my second area of analysis:

When refuting, I'd literally walk to that person's side of the room, gesture to
them, and look them directly in the eye. For instance, lets say I was refuting
Senator Smith. I'd walk over to Senator Smith's side of the room to address
and refute his points.

Then I'd want to refute, say, Senator Johnson. I'd then walk from Senator
Smith's side of the room to wherever Senator Johnson sits.

Repeat as needed for however many Senators you are planning to refute.
Afterward, return to the middle part of the room slowly (where you presented
your introduction) to do your conclusion.

It doesn't end there. During Cross Examination, presentation is just as
important. Judges still take into consideration your cross examination
responses, so remember that presentation is also important here. When the
Presiding Officer has called on a fellow Senator to ask you a cross
examination question, walk over to that person's side of the room, listen, and
give them eye contact not only while they are asking the question, but as you
are answering theirs. Do this for every cross examination question that is
asked to you. You really command the room doing this.

Standing Out
There are many different ways to stand out from the other twenty or so
senators in your room. The only thing that you want to be careful of is that
you are not calling negative attention to yourself, or being annoying. If you
do this, judges, as well as potential allies (I met a lot of good friends in
Congress!) will not enjoy your presence, and view you in a negative light.
1.) Take control. When you first arrive to your round and there are no judges
yet, everyone is usually a little uncertain as to what they're supposed to do.
On top of that, everyone is usually extremely nervous. Use this to your
advantage. Set your stuff down, and say something to the effect of “Hey
guys! In order to save time, why don't we do our P.O. Elections now? That
way, we'll be able to get in more debate time!” Everyone will agree, and you
can proceed to call for those wishing to preside, give them the 30 second
speeches, etc. When you're the one counting the votes as the judge/s come in,
the first impression they have of you will be you in front of the room taking
charge. They know that YOU know what you're doing.
2.) Be over prepared. Sometimes, the judges will not have a copy of the
legislation. Have a spare copy! Or two..or three..or four... hahaha. If you're
the one that is able to help out the judge if they need it, they'll appreciate the
fact that you are trying to make it as easy as possible for them.
3.) Offer to time. If you are the timer of a round, you are constantly
interacting with the judge by stating the time of a speech after each speech, as
well as indicating the end of CX. It's an extra way to participate!
4.) Have something about you that stands out. I was lucky and had a few
things going for me. I'm tall, blonde, and I have an “accent” because I'm from
New Zealand haha. But if you don't have any distinguishing feature, find
something that you can use to your advantage. I always wear colour, for
instance. Amongst all the black and white clothes at forensics tournaments,

having a little blue, purple, red, etc. can help you be memorable in the judges
head. You're in a room filled with kids. You need to be remembered in order
to be ranked. Sometimes having something a bit different about you will help
you just a little bit. I've seen words on my ballots such as “blonde” “tall”
“accent” “accent purple sweater” “blonde red shirt” and things to that effect.
It's hard for judges to keep track of us all!
5.) Be super courteous. You want to be likeable! Make sure that you are
polite to everyone in the round, whether they are reciprocating the politeness
or not. For instance, after the presiding officer has called on speeches, I
always say “I thank the chair!” And on my way towards walking to the front
of the room, I try to make things easy for the judge by saying “For the judges
reference, I am Senator Barry, speaking for the (first, second, third) time in
this session on the (affirmation/negation). At the leisure of my judges, just
give me a nod when you're ready”. After receiving nods from all judges, I
will state “Judges? Chamber? Presiding Officer? Lets begin” And then go
into my speech. It's good to ensure that everyone is ready for you to begin,
while also being put together.

What to know before a
tournament
There are a few pieces of information that you should be aware of before
competing at a tournament. Most competitors don't bother to know this, or
analyze time to their advantage, so if you are aware of everything that's
happening, it can really help in Congress.
1.) Time. A.) There will usually be six hours of debate at an in town
tournament (besides county and state). Lets say that a round was supposed to
begin at 9am, but the judges do not arrive till 9.30am. Now you will be able
to announce to the chamber that we have to go half an hour longer, while
some people may not be aware of the initial time. B.) If you are given a large
amount of legislation and the docket has been set for you, oftentimes you do
not need to intensely prep on the last few pieces of legislation. I mean,
always find evidence, have some points written down, etc. but if time does
not allow you to get to those pieces of legislation, then you can focus on the
ones that you know you will. Because you have to spend a minimum of thirty
minutes on each piece of legislation, and you have six hours, you know that
you will reach a maximum of twelve pieces of legislation. If you have
eighteen pieces, then you do not need to really worry about thirteen through
eighteen. Note: Out of town tournaments typically do not assign dockets
(besides Berkeley) so you should be equally prepared for everything at this
tournament.
2.) Know if there is a docket. If it is set, then Time Subsection B above will
apply to you. If there is no docket, then you know that you should bring a
proposed docket with you to the tournament, as well as be equally prepared
on any given piece of legislation.
3.) Congressional debate topics are typically current events. Because of this,
you should watch the news religiously. If the news bores you, then at least
watch it once a day the two weeks before a forensics tournament. There have
been countless times in which I'd write down facts given from the news, and
then search it online later to find a citation and date. This will help you have

the most recent evidence and points possible.

What to bring
At a tournament, you should definitely bring the following items:
A. Expandos/ binders – Whatever way you find most convenient to bring
your evidence in. Have it organised so that you can find your information
quickly and easily. Judges will see you in round, so if you have all of your
stuff spread out everywhere in a big mess, it won't look very professional.
B. Legal pad – I'm a strong proponent of the legal pad to flow on. It is
convenient and easy to use in round, and it looks more professional to bring
up in front of the chamber than a notebook or just a random piece of paper.
C. Black folder – You don't have to open the black folder at all. Just place it
underneath your papers and legal pad to give you a more polished look when
giving speeches. It is much more classy than just holding papers.
D. Flow pens/ highlighters – This should be a given. I only write in black
because I find it easier to read, but whatever works for you is good.
Highlighters are an absolute lifesaver in Congress. Not only will a highlight
evidence that I need when giving speeches, but I also have a specific colour
for everything. For instance, if I plan on refuting people, I will box their
argument on my flow, as well as my argument against theirs in one colour,
say blue. Then when I move on to the next person I wish to refute, I'll box
their information in another colour. It just makes things a lot easier when
you're in the middle of presenting a speech.
E. A timer! As mentioned earlier, if you can time the round, it will really help
you get noticed. It shows the fact that not only are you prepared enough to
bring a timer, but you're also participating a little bit extra in the round by
giving times to a judge.
F. A gavel. If you wish to preside, a gavel is a must. That way, you are able to
accommodate to those that wish to receive gavel signals and those that want
time signals. Note: If you are the presiding officer, politely ask each speaker
to state which type of signals they want before their speech.
G. Bring two or three bottles of water! You wouldn't want to ask for point of
personal privilege because you need more water before you give a speech.
H. This is going to sound ridiculous, but whether you are a guy or a girl,
bring a comb/brush and lip balm/lip gloss. Before you give a speech, make

sure you look presentable. You want to look put together, not all messy.

Constitution based arguments
A very common argument brought up is “unconstitutionality”. And why not?
We are in Congressional debate, we took an oath swearing that we would
support and defend the constitution of the United States, we need to ensure
that our policy making isn't contradictory to the law of the land. However,
saying that a piece of legislation “violates the fourth amendment”, for
instance, actually has no grounds.
Lets say for instance that three negative speakers have cited three different
amendments to which a piece of legislation violates. You, on the affirmative,
need to either refute the fact that they do not violate specific amendments, or
prove the fact that it has no topicality to today's debate.
In this section, I'm first going to explain to you how to provide real substance
to constitutionality arguments (in order to actually have bearing on the
debate), how to refute arguments from senators who claim a piece of
legislation violates an amendment, and how to prove that a piece of
legislation is constitutional (if the argument is that it is not and should be
repealed [or something to that effect]).
How to properly use constitutionality arguments:
Use a few keywords from your legislation + “supreme court case” in a
scholarly search engine. If you manage to find a Supreme Court case that
proves the point that it is unconstitutional, or constitutional (depending on the
debate), make sure to cite what the actual ruling on the Supreme Court case
was, and how it has more grounds than senators saying it does/does not
violate specific amendments.
How to argue against constitutionality:
What many Congressional debaters fail to overlook is the fact that the United
States Congress does not determine constitutionality. That is the Supreme
Court's job. So when senators on a specific side claim that it violates
whatever amendment, you can literally argue that they have no Supreme

Court case backing that up, and since the US Congress does not interpret
constitutionality, the Supreme Court does, it has no bearing on today's debate.
How to argue for constitutionality:
If the piece of legislation is about something being unconstitutional, people
on the affirmative will probably cite amendments that contradict the topic.
However, if you have a Supreme Court Case proving that it IS constitutional,
or if there has been no ruling by the Supreme Court on whether it is
constitutional or not, then you can use that to prove that the affirmative has
no grounds to make that point, because again, the US Congress doesn't
determine constitutionality.
A hot topic to bring up in Congress is that a specific piece of legislation
violates states rights. If you are debating a piece of legislation at the national
level in which the federal government would not have the jurisdiction to
implement, then you should definitely call constitutionality.
How to argue against passing laws at the federal level: In Section 8 Powers of
Congress, it lists what areas the Congress can and cannot pass laws in regards
to. This ranges from things such as war, immigration, the postal system, and
things of this nature. Nowhere in Section 8 does it allow the Congress to
make laws regarding (whatever topic you're debating). As a result, the federal
government doesn't have the jurisdiction to even consider passing said
legislation.
How to argue for passing laws at the federal level: In John Locke's Social
Contract, it explains how citizens in a respective nation give up some of their
rights in order to be fully protected under the government. Because states
have not been responsible, nor have taken accountability for their actions, the
federal government is forced to step in. Because it is in the best interest of the
constitutency, it is needed; hence, justifiable in society. If anyone cross-x's
you, you could even compare it to how the federal government was forced to
step into education with the No Child Left Behind Act, how the federal
government was forced into intervening with health care because the states
were not proactively taking the steps needed in order to function with
efficiency and equity, etc.

If you don't know too much about John Locke's Social Contract and its role
in the creation of the Constitution, here is a little bit of background:
Many aims of the Constitution were to fix the failures of the Articles of
Confederation. The Declaration of Independence addresses the abuses that
occur from bad government leadership. The list uses philosophical arguments
from many philosophers, but mainly John Locke. It essentially enumerates
what freedoms that the government must provide for its citizens, as well as
how the citizens should control the government. Jefferson even used John
Locke's “Second Treatise of Civil Government” published in 1690 to
emphasize the government's role of forming a social contract between the
leaders of a state and its citizens. Thomas Jefferson used Locke's phrase:
“life, liberty, and pursuit of property” to explain the goal of the country's
government infrastructure.
Hint!
When I was a Senior, I took IB Government in school. Unfortunately, it
covers European and Latin American government, not US Government. Also,
schools typically have students take AP US Government and Politics as a
Senior. So here is a piece of advice. Do what I did, and read a review book,
whether it be a Princeton Review or a Kaplan book. It gives you a lot of
insight, and can be an absolute lifesaver!

Evidence validity arguments
Too many Senators make the fatal mistake to ask about evidence validity in
cross examination. This includes sources, dates, and the reliability of sources.
I can guarantee to you that this is a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME. Ask a cross-x
question that will actually be of advantage to you in your speech (which will
be explained later on in the manual). If you must, bring up evidence validity
in speeches.
I personally believe that evidence validity is kind of a petty argument. If
someone is citing Wikipedia, or has no evidence at all, I'm pretty sure that the
judge will pick up on that (as opposed to you that will have many pretty little
citations :D). However, if you really want to reiterate the fact that your side
has by far much more substantial grounds, here is how I would go about it:
Point out in your speech other Senators on your side who have cited Supreme
Court cases, economic studies, quotes from Senators, New York Times
evidence from last week, etc. Then you can literally say that the opposing
side has provided no empirical or substantial evidence to prove any of their
claims. That they have cited no resources, which completely discredits their
arguments. Then you can point out the fact that you have provided a study
from the Cato Institute, an Economist article, and a report from the Wall
Street Journal, all dated within a month.
Bam. Without wasting a petty cross-x question such as “Where did you find
your evidence?” “What is your evidence dated?” or “Do you have any
evidence to cite for the numbers you provided?” You don't even give those
speakers the opportunity to cite their sources if they forgot, or look rude for
asking them for evidence if they obviously had none. In your speech, you just
discredit those speakers as a whole by saying that your side has more grounds
from providing real numbers and studies.
In regards to bias, again, explain why Fox News is biased in your speech if
you must. Don't waste cross-x time on it. I'm not the biggest fan of pointing
out bias, because you should be focusing on refuting the actual arguments. :)

Bill vs. resolution arguments
In case you didn't know, I'll briefly explain the basic difference between a bill
and a resolution. A bill is a piece of legislation that should be specific. It
needs to provide all of the stipulations in order to be effectively enacted into
society. This includes when it should be implemented, who is enforcing it,
where the funding is coming form, and things of this nature. A resolution is a
piece of legislation in which you would be debating the idea of said
legislation. It does not need to provide specific information. You're simply
debating whether it would be beneficial or not in society. For instance, if you
are debating a resolution to implement gay marriage, you could say it was a
great idea; that it provides equality, etc. If you were debating a bill to
implement gay marriage, you'd then be able to debate how you can't institute
the legislation as it is because it violates Section 8 Powers of Congress (as
aforementioned, it violates the powers of the US Congress, has to be done at
the state level).
Resolution arguments are pretty self explanatory. Debate them as per usual,
but if you are on the negative side, you cannot argue that it is not specific
enough (that it doesn't include things such as a time frame, funding, etc.) It
has no topicality, and you will look like a noob who has no idea how to do
Congress.
If you are debating a bill, and you stand on the negative side, you should
definitely use the flaws in the bill to your advantage. On multiple debate
ballots, judges have commented on how they like my line-by-line
discrediting of the bill itself. Literally explain why the stipulations are
illogical.
*Time frame: Lets say for instance you're debating instituting a state lottery,
and the legislation wishes it to be enacted immediately upon passage.
Question if this is enough time to draft rules and regulations, hire workers,
create the actual infrastructure itself, etc.
*Enforcement: Make sure it is the department/s within the government
enforcing! If not, definitely call that out! If it has no means of enforcement,
then explain how the bill would not be effective because there is no

accountability.
*Definitions: If provided, make sure they are correct! If they aren't, call it out
in your speech!
*LAWS IN CONFLICT: This is overlooked SO MUCH. One of my ultra
secrets was to look up similar laws and see if they were in conflict. For
instance, I don't remember the specific topic, but I debating something that
wanted to eliminate a specific section of the tax code. However, what NO
ONE ELSE IN THE ROUND noticed was that in that same section, it
regulated social security, funds in federal elections, medicare/medicaid, and
things to that effect. If you can find laws in conflict, it will definitely make
your speech unique, memorable, but most importantly, irrefutable ;).

Refuting points
As mentioned earlier in this manual, refutation is a MUST in my book.
Because of this, make sure you dedicate at least a minute of your speech
towards addressing other Senators. During round, there are a couple of key
things that you need to remember:
1.) Keep track of Senator's last names. While judges are getting set up, you
could even go around and ask people's last names if you aren't sure (in town
only, out of town they typically make a T-chart on the board to write down
last names). This way, during the round, you are able to call individual people
out in your speech. This could be from a speech, or even a Senator asking a
cross-examination question.
2.) Make it personable. Don't do the generic “Some affirmative speakers said
that blahblahblah”. Literally call people out. After my second area of
analysis, I'd move on to refuting senators. So literally walk to that senator's
side of the room, gesture to them, and give them eye contact. Use the
pronoun “you”.
E.g. Senator Smith, I understand where you are coming from in saying that
blahblahblah, however what you fail to realise is blahblahblah.
3.) Use cross-examination questions to your advantage. Even if they weren't
cross-x questions that you specifically asked, use it to strengthen your side. It
will demonstrate the fact that you have been actively listening to both sides,
but you are advocating for something that you truly believe in.
E.g. Senator Martinez, you stated in your speech that blahblahblah, and
Senator Williams argued this same point; however, he conceded in crossexamination to Senator John by explaining that blahblahblah. Therefore, your
point does not have any grounds in today's debate.
4.) Be diplomatic. In Congress, it is not wise to be completely one sided. Use
phrases such as “I understand where the negative is coming from in saying
that blahblahblah; however, what you fundamentally have to realise is that
blahblahblah.” Never be rude to other Senators. Explain that “though the

affirmative does have the best of intentions, they go about fixing this problem
in the wrong manner” or something to that effect.
5.) USE COMPROMISE. If you can master this strategy, it will give you
such an advantage both in and out of town. Essentially how you do this is by
advocating one specific piece of legislation, while letting the opposing side
have their way in the future. For instance, explain that there definitely needs
to be a plan of action towards combating [whatever problem], but cannot be
passed right now due to the fact that [the bill doesn't appropriate funding,
there's no enforcement, would not be effective right now due to blahblah, we
need to create infrastructure in order to ensure it would be effective, and the
legislation does not create that, etc.

Cross – examination questions
When asking cross-x questions, make sure that they have a purpose. Do not
stand for the sake of standing, but make sure that they will strategically help
you in your speech. In order to do this, you need to ask cross-examination
questions in a specific manner in order to make sure that the speaker answers
it in the way that you want them to. That way, you can manipulate the
answers that they provide.
I can't explicitly tell you how to ask each and every single cross examination
question that you ask. However, I can give you a few pointers as to how to
make them more polished, and help you stand out:
1.) Gesture to the speaker during the cross-examination question. Give them
eye contact, and truly address them. It honestly does help you stand out.
2.) Ask questions that truly attack their points. Don't ask about where they got
their evidence or to rephrase their point, etc. That way, you can address that
cross-examination question in your speech .
3.) Don't ask a question about something that they didn't address in their
speech. It makes it appear as if you weren't actually listening to their content.
Obviously cross-examination is important. You want to stand out in round as
well as showcase your brilliant debating skills. Participation is crucial in
Congress. This is why I have this strategy:
Affirmative
Barry
Walters
Schmidt

Negative
Smith
Johnson
William

Lets pretend that you are Senator Barry. You happen to give the first speech

on this topic. You then cross-examined Senator Smith. You now have lower
cx priority/ recency, so you do not stand to cross-examine Senator Walters.
Because they are on the same side, it is not imperative that you ask that
senator a question. Also, if you happen to be called on, you will not be able to
cross-examine the next negative speaker, Senator Johnson. So DO NOT stand
for the next person who gives a speech on the same side as you EVER. This
way, you have cx priority/recency to ask Senator Johnson a question. You can
then stand and have a question prepared for Senator Schmidt, but chances are
that you won't be able to ask your question. Then you will stand to ask
Senator William a question, and you will most likely be able to this time.
This strategy helps you cross-examine the opposing side that will ultimately
benefit you in the long run during this round. :)

Main motions to know
There are two main things you should know about main motions:
1.) THERE ARE NO SUSPENDING THE RULES. NO EXCEPTIONS.
2.) You cannot extend cross examination time. This would involve
suspending the rules, which you cannot do.
For a larger chart of Parliamentary motions, please refer to
www.nflonline.org under the reference section, or Robert's Rules of Order.
Below is a chart of the main motions that you need to know :). These are
pretty much the only one's that you really need to know.
Motion.
Adjourn.

Purpose.

Dismiss the
chamber.
Recess.
Dismiss the
chamber for
a specific
period of
time.
Rise to a
Personal
question of
request
privilege.
during
debate.
Appeal a
Reverse the
decision of
decision
the chair.
made by the
chair.
Rise to a point Correct a
of order/
parliamentar
parliamentary y error or
procedure.
ask a
question to
the chair.
Division of
Verify a
the chamber. voice vote.

Second
required?
Yes.

Debatable?

Required
vote?
Majority.

Interrupt?

No.

Amendable
?
Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Majority.

No.

No.

No.

No.

Decision of
the chair.

Yes.

Yes.

No.

No.

Majority.

Yes.

No.

No.

No.

Decision of
the chair.

Yes.

No.

No.

No.

Decision of
the chair.

Yes.

No.

Rescind.

Repeal a
previous
action.
Previous
Force an
question.
immediate
vote.
Amend.
Modify a
specific
motion.
Main motion. Introduce
business to
the chamber.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

2/3
majority.

No.

Yes.

No.

No.

2/3
majority.

No.

One-third.

Yes.

Yes.

Majority.

No.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Majority.

No.