Congressional Debate

AKA Congress, Student Congress, Con.                                                                                                                                    Back to Forensics Information
Congressional Debate is essentially a mock congress. A group of contestants, usually called Senators or Representatives (Senators is preferred because it is shorter) debate various bills and resolutions (written by the contestants or the tournament staff) for a certain period of time. Debate cycles between affirmative (pro) speakers and negative (con) speakers. A Presiding Officer (PO) or Chair is elected at the start of debate, and is in charge of keeping order in the chamber.
From the National Forensic League:

This is individual debate in a large group setting. Congressional Debate models the legislative process of democracy, specifically, the United States Congress. Students optionally write legislation submitted by their coach to a tournament, and they research the docket of bills and resolutions distributed by each tournament. At the tournament, students set an agenda of what legislation to discuss, they debate the merits and disadvantages of each, and they vote to pass or defeat the measures they have examined. Parliamentary procedure forms structure for debate, and students extemporaneously respond to each others’ arguments over the course of a session. Congressional Debate is a valuable learning exercise, because students familiarize themselves with current social and political problems and learn appropriate behavior and rules for formal meetings. Contestants are evaluated by judges for their research and analysis of issues, argumentation, skill in asking and answering questions, use of parliamentary procedure, and clarity and fluency of speaking.

From the National Catholic Forensic League:

Permits students to participate in parliamentary debate. Legislation is prepared by the students in advance in the areas of Domestic, Economic, and Foreign Affairs. Students debate the merits of the legislation presented.

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