Answers to Past Executive Orders Made Things Worse 20
Answers to “Permutation” 21
Net Benefit 22
Plan Hurts Executive Power 23
Secrecy Proves the Need 24
Waiting on Congress Risks Conflict 25
Risks WMD conflicts 26
Answers to “CP links to Politics” 27
Congress likes the CP not the Aff 28
Solvency Answers 30
Sole Executive Action Fails 31
Need More Oversight 32
Need More Oversight 33
Risk Mission Creep 34
Risk Mission Creep 35
Presidential Power Answers 36
Power doesn’t Trade-Off 37
Strong Executive Unnecessary 38
This file is a generic counterplan that can be read against almost any affirmative on the topic. Instead of having congress or the courts ‘curtail’ domestic surveillance, the counterplan has the executive act alone to end the surveillance program that the affirmative is about.
To win the counterplan, one needs to focus on three important issues –
First, the plan and counterplan are different. If the 1ac plan text says congress or the courts then it is obviously a different action. However, many affirmatives choose not to say which branch of the United States does the 1ac. When this happens, it is important to argue that the 1ac, in order to be topical, must have an external branch of the government “curtail” the executive policy. Winning that argument distinguishes the plan from the counterplan.
Second, the counterplan has the same effect as the plan. This is what is often called the “solvency deficit” debate. Does the counterplan solve all of the same advantages, to the same degree, as the affirmative? The main arguments against the counterplan will be discussed below. However, the focus of debating the counterplan should be on winning that the executive acting alone (or unilaterally) is sufficient to solve the specific advantages the affirmative isolates.
Third, the counterplan needs to have a net benefit. There are two possibilities for the negative. First, the politics disad would be the most common net benefit. By acting alone, the counterplan argues, the President would be able to avoid a messy and drawn out fight with members of Congress. Therefore, the President will be able to spend his/her time fighting with Congress about more important issues. Second, the Presidential flexibility net benefit is also a possibility. Because the affirmative has another actor force the President’s position on a national security issue, it is seen as intervening into ‘presidential powers.’ Unchecked Presidential Powers are important for a successful and effective foreign policy.
Beating the counterplan consists of winning one of the three arguments that are discussed above: the counterplan is no different than the plan, the counterplan doesn’t solve one or more of the advantages of the 1ac, or there is no net benefit to the counterplan.
The main “solvency deficit” arguments for the counterplan will center around the lack of ‘transparency’ or openness involved in executive actions. Unlike congress or the courts, when the Executive acts it is usually secretive. Most advocates for curtailing domestic surveillance make a strong argument in favor of openness. Because the counterplan has the executive act alone, that is not as open to public accountability.
Executive – The President of the United States and all presidential level parts of the government. This is distinct from Congress and the Courts. It includes the military, the NSA, CIA, and all the cabinet level groups.
Executive Order – Laws written by the President without congressional votes. They are usually instructions given to executive level groups on how to implement laws, or change the way things are done. The NSA was started and acts based on authority given by an Executive Order 12,333 written by President Reagan.
Judicial – the courts. Usually, but not necessarily, the Supreme Court of the United States or the SCOTUS. Could include any number of lower federal or state courts.
Mission Creep – When the original plan for something gets broader and beyond what was originally intended. The best example is if your teacher tells you to clean up the classroom. After cleaning up the classroom you go outside and start cleaning up on the playground. In foreign policy, it happens when a directive to do something gets extended to other countries and groups. It is usually a way of describing the fear that the executive will take a small issue and expand it.
Oversight – being in charge of looking after what someone is doing. It’s like having a manager. In this literature, oversight usually refers to congress or public groups having the ability to check in on what executive groups like the NSA, Department of Justice [DOJ] or others are doing.
Permutation – a debate jargon phrase. It means that the affirmative gets to test whether the counterplan is competitive or not. A counterplan must be better than the plan and the plan added to the counterplan, otherwise the affirmative wins.
Presidential Power – the power of the presidency. Usually referred to as the Presidency’s ability to do things without having to answer to Congress or the other branches of congress.
Rolled Back – When a law gets overturned. A common phrase within literature about Executive Orders because president’s can easily pass new executive orders overturning older ones. When Obama was elected he “rolled back” several executive orders that Bush implemented during his Presidency.
Solvency Deficit – Debate Jargon. A way of saying that the counterplan does not “solve” for all of the advantages of the affirmative – or at least does not solve them as well. So, for example, if the plan saves 100 lives and the counterplan only saves 10, then the affirmative would argue that there is a “solvency deficit” of 90 lives. It is rarely as clean cut as 100 vs 10. However, it is a way of taking about which of the two actions [plan or counterplan] is superior.
Statutory – an act of congress. Written into “statute.” Legislation is often called statutory, executive orders are not.
Unilateral – When an actor acts by his or herself and without others. In this instance, an executive order is the president acting “unilaterally.” If the President and Congress acted together then it would not be “unilateral.” The phrase will often also appear in foreign policy literature about the United States acting unilaterally [without other countries] as opposed to “muli-laterally” or with many other countries together.
Zero-Sum – When two things trade off with each other they are called ‘zero sum.’ So, for example, if I have 2 apples and both Martin and Susan are asking for an apple, if I give one to Martin that is zero-sum with giving it to Susan. I can’t give them both the same apple. So, my supply of apples is ‘zero-sum.’ The phrase appears in this file in relation to the power between the president and congress. If one acts, then the other loses power. It is called, “zero-sum” power. When something is “not zero sum” it means that increasing it for one does not decrease if for another.