Plan Writing In Policy Debate: Example Plans From 1970 to 2021

As part of an upcoming instructional series, I traced the evolution of plan texts in policy debate from their earliest introduction to the present day. It is obvious to any observer that plan writing has changed dramatically over the decades, but I wanted to explore the motivating factors that influenced those changes with the goal of helping current students improve their plan writing.

In order to demonstrate the changes that I will discuss, this post includes example plan texts from 36 different college debate seasons from 1970 to 2021. For each year, I have included that season’s resolution and an example plan from a competitively successful team.

The sources of these example plan texts vary. From 1970 to 1985, they are taken from the NDT Final Round transcripts published in the Journal of the American Forensic Association. Plans from subsequent years are from my personal archive of debate scouting materials and the publicly-available openCaselist wiki.

When an NDT final round plan text was unavailable, I attempted to choose another representative example of a plan text from that season. While variations continue to exist between teams, the purpose of this list is to provide a representative example of the prevailing plan text norms for each season.

I was unable to obtain plan texts from every season, but there are nine from the 1970s, six from the 1980s, three from the 1990s, seven from the 2000s, nine from the 2010s, and two from the 2020s. While incomplete, this provides enough examples to identify trends. Most notably, the plans range in length from as many as 589 words (1977) to as few as 12 words (2018). In the future, I will unpack the reasons for that difference and discuss other trends that can be observed from this collection of plans.

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Resolved: That the federal government should grant annually a specific percentage of its income tax revenue to the state governments.

Example Plan — Canisius, NDT Final Round:

By all necessary procedures we advocate the following institutional departure. Plank 1: Twenty percent of personal income tax revenues will be held in a revenue pool for one year. It would then be distributed to state health and planning agencies, ninety percent to be spent on medical services for the medically indigent and ten percent for state medical planning. Plank 2: All appropriate federal standards would be enforced by fines and imprisonment to the individual administrators; distribution to the states is on a need criterion. And plank 3: Redundant grants-in-aid would be eliminated; redundant grants-in-aid would be eliminated.


Resolved: That greater controls should be imposed on the gathering and utilization of information about United States citizens by government agencies.

Example Plan — UCSB, NDT Final Round:

Contextual definitions are contained in the following plan. By all means necessary, one, the federal and all state governments shall be prohibited from gathering or utilizing any information for purposes of military conscription. Two, all U.S. military branches may not utilize information to compel enlistment or reenlistment for a term of more than four years. Three, all information presently held by the government relating to selective service offenses or military desertion from Vietnam shall be destroyed. Four, the federal government shall be prohibited from utilizing any information to prosecute selective service offenders, to prosecute deserters from Vietnam, or to hold offenders in prison. Five, all persons under the authority of any federal, state, or local government who violate or attempt to violate this proposal shall be subject to ten years imprisonment and $10,000 fine. Six, with respect to military personnel in Vietnam, this plan shall be phased-in over a six month period.


Resolved: That the federal government should provide a program of comprehensive medical care for all its citizens.

Example Plan — Georgetown, NDT Final Round:

Jay and I will support the national debate proposition, examples of which will be provided in the following affirmative proposal.

Plank number one: All United States citizens will be legally entitled to comprehensive medical care with the exception of cosmetic surgery, psychiatric treatment, and dental care with no cost charged for any services rendered. Such coverage will be phased in over a three-year period, beginning with immediate coverage for all catastrophic illness.

Two: All such medical care will be a federal public service. Therefore, there will be no private practice or facilities allowed for under provisions of our plan. Wages for providers of such care will be legally set at 15 percent above specialty averages. The number of hours worked by all personnel will be governmentally set. Further upward adjustments will be allowed to compensate for relevant cost-of-living increases, shortages of technical and paramedical personnel, extensive controlled research projects, and medical treatment efficiency increments. All necessary steps, including regulation of medical schools, may be taken to ensure adequate supplies of manpower.

Three: The federal government will organize all medical workers into general health care centers. Regional service centers will be established to provide for specialized treatment. Such units will be structured in group or team fashion, utilizing models such as the Kaiser program.

Four: An independent self-perpetuating Drug Regulatory Commission will be established. Members will include Senator Gaylord Nelson, Dr. Henry Simmons, and Dr. Thomas Dunphy. Duties of the Commission will include (1) collection, coordination, and dissemination of all relevant information on prescription drugs to all physicians through their own group practice units; (2) establishment and enforcement of complete record keeping standards for all physicians, administered by their appropriate group practice; (3) regulation of prescription drug practices through review of all records by group practice administrators with Commission monitoring. In any complaint, the burden of proof will be on the physician to justify his prescription practices.

Five: A self-perpetuating independent Federal Regulatory Commission—commissioners with life tenure—will be established to ensure optimal levels of medical care for all citizens through extensive quality and educational controls. The Commission will be chaired and appointed by Dr. Robert McCleary of the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. In all matters relating to the use of X-ray techniques, standards will be established and directed by Dr. Karl Morgan. All other necessary staff and personnel shall be provided.

Six: Violators of the regulatory provisions of this plan will be ineligible to practice medical care as part of the federal public service. All other violations will be subject to fines and imprisonment.

Seven: Costs of the affirmative proposal will be financed through an independent trust fund, making progressive use of federal tax structures. Tax incentives will be provided employers enforcing the Occupational Health and Safety Act.


Resolved: That the federal government should control the supply and utilization of energy in the United States.

Example Plan — Harvard, NDT Final Round:

As on illustration of the resolution, Mr. Garvin and I offer the following six-plank plan as a permanent redirection of government pollution abatement policy, to be implemented by all necessary enabling constitutional and statutory action over a three year period.

One, we will establish a self-perpetuating three person Board consisting of Henry Wallich, J. H. Dales, and Douglas R. Macintosh. Board members must retire upon attaining age 62 and one-quarter and will be suitably rewarded for services.

Two, the Board will have the power to: (a) set national ambient standards for air pollution, categorically identical to those of the Clean Air Act, not to exceed the levels currently stipulated under that act; (b) exercise emergency powers in cases of temperature inversion, identical to those currently provided the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency]; (c) establish regional air-shed districts and emission limits for each district designed to meet the national ambient standards; (d) appoint independent district governing boards, subject to the same tenure constraints expressed in plank one. The boards will function as enforcement agencies similar to the IRS [Internal Revenue Service].

Three, the right to distribute gaseous or particulate pollutants will be distributed in the following manner: In a sealed bidding system, each firm shall submit a contingent bid specifying the quantity of pollution rights it would be willing to purchase at each of several prices. Each district governing board shall choose among the bids so as to maximize its own revenue from the sale. Thereafter, pollution rights may be bought, sold, or leased on the open market by any public or private entity, subject to normal antitrust regulations. Duplicate controls shall be rendered inoperative.

Four, district governing boards will have power to: (a) use receipts from the sale of pollution rights to enforce emission levels, invest in corporate bonds, and repurchase pollution rights if necessary to meet changing conditions; (b) use independent local taxing authority over payrolls, above the current ceiling on the social security tax, to cover the costs to the boards of enforcing emission levels.

Five, all polluters will be required to submit quarterly reports to the district governing boards detailing their current and projected holdings of rights and actual emission levels. Each board will have all necessary investigative authority, will engage in spot checks to monitor emission levels, and will enforce compliance with fines, jail terms for plant managers and corporate heads, and incentive civil suits with treble damages.

Six, board decisions will be reviewable in the federal court system. However, the burden of proof will be placed on the polluter, and, except in antitrust cases, no preliminary injunctive relief will be granted. The decision of the board remains final until overturned by the courts.


Resolved: That the power of the Presidency should be significantly curtailed.

Example Plan — Redlands, NDT Final Round:

To provide justice, Greg, Pat, Kenneth, Southworth, and I offer the following example of the resolution [planJ to be implemented through any and all necessary legal and Constitutional means.

One (1), the Attorney General and the remainder of the Department of Justice will be removed from all undue Presidential influence. The Antitrust Division with all its ensuing responsibilities will be transferred to the FTC [Federal Trade Commission].

Two (2), the Department will be guaranteed all necessary mandates, within statutory and Constitutional guidelines, for the enforcement of domestic laws now within its jurisdiction and for future mandates defined by current function. Any executive branch reorganization which attempts to circumvent the intent of this plan will be prohibited. Necessary funds, staff, and independent information sources will be assured within current funding levels with reasonable escalator clauses. All personnel will be salaried at comparable levels equivalent to non-governmental employment.

Three (3), by 1976 all prospective candidates for Attorney General, federal judges excluding the Supreme Court, and all major Department administrative subordinates must meet the following criteria: (a), [Each appointee must] be Congressionally approved from a list submitted by a two-thirds vote of the Supreme Court every six years. (b), Each appointee must sign a contractual agreement which will commit him to the requirements of this plan as well as voluntary removal from a case in which a conflict of interest might arise. (c), As of this day, the appointee may not have been a major or active campaigner, leader, or contributor in a political campaign. Such actions during office are similarly outlawed. Nor may he accept gratuity either before or after his employment for actions followed while in office. (d), Each appointee must submit to an initial and subsequent yearly Supreme Court-administered or authorized lie-detection screening. The most advanced and most simplistic equipment and best-trained questionners will be employed. Negative results are the basis for proving probable cause and such findings are immediately investigated.

Four (4), removal from office will be based on malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance. Likely interpretations of violations will include submission to partisan party pressure, business corruption, or personal political or economic aspirations. Both parties involved are subject to removal from office and felonious criminal penalties. Presidential removal power regarding the Department of Justice will be abolished and his pardoning power will be limited to non-political offenses.

Five (5), the legislative intent of this proposal for judicial review will be embodied in the affirmative speeches of today’s debate, especially Ballard’s final rebuttal.


Resolved: That the federal government should adopt a comprehensive program to control land use in the United States.

Example Plan — Georgetown, NDT Final Round: 

Initially we would like to express our pleasure at being here [Boston] in our bicentennial year and appreciation for this opportunity to uphold for the last time the national debate proposition, examples of which will be found in the following plan.

One, structure: A National Land Use Commission will be established. The Commission will consist of recognized experts from relevant fields appointed by the affirmative team and Unger. The Commission will be self-perpetuating with reasonable retirement dates imposed as well as munificently salaried. It will be provided with all necessary staff, data, research facilities, and monitoring and protective devices to carry out its mandate. If necessary, food and population subcommissions, similarly structured, selected, and endowed, will be created.

Two, powers and duties: The National Land Use Commission will possess minimally sufficient powers, including graduated foreign aid cut-offs where necessary, to control land use in the United States to accomplish the following. (A), Food: (1), the Commission and its subcommissions will provide minimally adequate diets or dietary supplements for 500 million people. Such food will include food-fortification, including vitamin A where necessary. In addition, complementary medical provisions may be undertaken. Graduated, grain-intensive, compensated food conservation and for federal land-based production increases and for mandated, compensated private production increases will be utilized where necessary. (2), A world food reserve of 20 million tons, to be allocated in times of emergency, will be gradually created and maintained through the above mechanisms. (3), Allocation will be legally based upon minimization of starvation and malnutrition and their adverse impacts, consistent with all other plan provisions. Special focus will be placed upon mothers and young children. Appropriate authority will be assigned to provide the necessary material for distribution, storage, and transportation. (4), Recipient nations will be encouraged to take all reasonable steps to achieve agricultural self-sufficiency where environmentally and demographically appropriate-distribution on the basis of plank IIA3. (5), Temporary or permanent phaseout war conditions are met. (G), International and voluntary agencies may be utilized to distribute food as authorized as well as to conduct spot checks to inspect for dietary adequacy and other relevant plan provisions. If necessary, the capabilities of such agencies may be supplemented or replaced by direct Commission action. Institutional feeding distribution may be employed where appropriate. (B), Population: Birth control devices, family planning programs, necessary information, personnel, and outreach programs will be provided to recipient nations if necessary. (C), Exemptions may be granted based upon reasonable availability of food and/or environmental factors.

Three, finance: The progressive use of the tax system, national lotteries or deficit financing, or some appropriate mix [will be used to finance the plan].

Four, enforcement and administration: (1), Enforcement will be through an independent, self-perpetuating, retirement-mandated agency with full powers including necessary staff, investigative, and penalty provisions. Initial members will be appointed by the Supreme Court and the ABA [American Bar Association]. (2), Judicial review where necessary: The agency will monitor all Commission activities and may remove members for non-, mis-, or malfeasance in office. In addition, severe criminal and civil penalties may be invoked. Offenses will be unpardonable, sentences uncommutable. (3), Attempts to circumvent the letter and intent of this proposal will be treated as direct violations and subject to appropriate penalties. All such attempts will be determined by the affirmative board.

And five, interpretation: Affirmative speeches in this round will serve as legislative directives to resolve questions of plan interpretation.


Resolved: That the federal government should significantly strengthen the guarantee of consumer product safety required of manufacturers.

Example Plan — Georgetown, NDT Final Round:

On behalf of James J. Unger, Augustus Owlsey, and Jack [Walker], I support the national debate proposition, several independent examples of which are found in the following policy proposal to be enacted and maintained through all necessary federal and Constitutional means.

One, an independent, self-perpetuating, munificently-salaried, affirmatively appointed National Consumer Motor Vehicle Safety Commission will be established. Members will be removable by the Supreme Court for mis-, mal-, or nonfeasance in office, with mandatory retirement at age 60. Commissioners will be provided with all necessary staff, information, administrative services, legal power, and funding minimally sufficient to carry out the legal mandates of the plan.

Two, commencing on June 1, 1977, all newly-manufactured automobiles operating within the United States will be required to have installed Commission-approved, maximally balanced, effective airbag restraint systems consistent with all other plan provisions. Such installation procedures will be initially phased in over a three-year period, supervised and scheduled by the Commission on a graduated, technical-feasibility basis.

Three, commencing on June I, 1977, all relevant manufacturers will be legally required to offer free and reasonably convenient maintenance and reinstallation of utilized airbag systems. Manufacturers may be required to offer incentives to the public to undertake such actions.

Four, the Commission will undertake ongoing, comprehensive, independent, competitive research into all aspects of motor vehicle transportation safety. It will be fully empowered to require the removal, installation, maintenance, and use of seat belts, sequential reminders, and passive restraints on the basis of cost-benefit analysis and other relevant inputs. Affirmative airbag provisions are exempt from removal. The affirmative board will have legal authority to ensure that current requirements cannot be reduced in terms of safety effectiveness.

Five, proposal compliance costs for domestic and/or foreign manufacturers and related industries may be financed through Commission- approved, federally-funded, long-term, low-interest loans and/or grants upon adequate demonstration of need. Full consultation and cooperation with foreign manufacturers [will be provided].

Six, the Commission will undertake national, on-going programs of publicity and education on all matters of motor vehicle transportation safety, with particular emphasis upon the desirability of airbags, seat belts, and any other Commission-approved devices. The Commission will be empowered to assure the accuracy of conflicting sources of information.

Seven, financing will be through an appropriate, Commission-determined mix of progressive taxation, deficit spending, program reduction, and efficiency savings. Funding cannot exceed amounts minimally sufficient to carry out board mandates—total annual amount not to exceed $5 billion.

Eight, enforcement will be through specially-funded, independent prosecutors. Full investigative and enforcement authority will cover all staff and Commission members. Severe, unpardonable sentences and fines for all violations of any provision, including attempts at circumvention, [will be provided]. Any investigations and information obtained by the affirmative board in the completion of its duties will be legally restricted to that purpose. Other communication will be legally prevented.

Nine, all Commission decisions will be subject to priority review in federal courts with the burden of proof upon the appellant. No preliminary injunctive relief will be available. If necessary, special Commission-appointed courts may be created especially to deal with liability suits arising from the mandates of the plan. In all liability suits, total court costs will be borne by the losing party. Governmental compensation may be given to manufacturers for court judgments, except in cases of negligent behavior. All Commission decisions, including mandation of airbags, will not constitute precedent for liability suits arising from manufacturer actions prior to said decisions.

And ten, affirmative speeches will serve as legislative history for the specific purpose of resolving all questions of plan interpretation.


Resolved: That the United States law enforcement agencies should be given significantly greater freedom in the investigation and/or prosecution of felony crime.

Example Plan — USC, NDT Final Round:

There’s a killer on the loose, and because it will kill again, the University of Southern California supports this year’s intercollegiate debate resolution, several examples of which are found in the following five-plank plan to be implemented by any means necessary and phased in optimally:

Plank one, financing of this plan will be through the most desirable combination of the following: Transfer of funds from states, loans from private lending institutions, cuts in federal taxes, permanent cuts in energy R and D [research and development]. Violations will be punishable as a felony.

Plank two, violations of this plan will be enforced through any minimally sufficient means. An independent special prosecutor will be appointed by the Supreme Court to insure plan compliance. Court review of all decisions by relevant agencies will be provided, with burden of proof on the agency to insure compliance with the intent of this proposal as defined in the context of affirmative speeches, accounting for negative argumentation.

Plank three, ongoing research into the problem area and solutions will be provided with optimum new techniques employed within the relevant legal structures. Publication if desirable. Evidence of subsequent design change will not be permitted in civil courts under penalty of trial forfeiture.

Plank four, no reduction in real crime investigation and prosecution will be permitted.

Plank five, any additional authority will be granted to the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] and the DOJ [Department of Justice] to carry out the strictest mandates of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act [FWPCAJ and the Safe Drinking Water Act [SDWA]. This will include, but not [be] limited to: (a) All necessary staffing, funding, manpower, and ability to compensate where desirable. Elimination of special consolidation for economic impact. (b) Authority to control ground water [and] nonpoint source pollution, including land use controls and soft water controls. (c) Limitations on chemical discharges entering the water. (d) Removal of burden of proof regarding willful violations. Monitoring of all water sources will be mandated.


Resolved: That the federal government should implement a program which guarantees employment opportunities for all United States citizens in the labor force.

Example Plan — Northwestern, NDT Final Round:

Convinced that individuals need not suffer the degradation of unemployment in an industrial society simply to spare that society the dilemmas of economic expansion, Mr. Cotham and I affirm the ’78-’79 resolution, that the federal government should implement a program which guarantees employment opportunities for all U.S. citizens in the labor force, which we exemplify in the following proposal to be phased in through all necessary legitimate means over a three-year period.

Title one: An independent Federal Employment Agency will be established. Directors will be appointed by the Executive and confirmed by the Senate for staggered ten-year terms and provided with minimally sufficient staff, information, and other resources. Removal for malfeasance; required declaration of personal assets; periodic GAO [General Accounting Office] oversight and review.

Title two: Mandate. Congress will direct the agency to implement through minimally sufficient means: A. A reduction in the standard workweek under the Fair Labor Standards Act to achieve through work-sharing an annual best estimate unemployment rate of four percent as currently measured. Elimination of compulsory overtime and an increase in the overtime premium from time-and-a-half to double time. B. Adjustment of unemployment insurance systems to permit partial compensation for reduced hours modeled on the West German system. Payroll taxes on new hiring exempted up to the number of such hires predicted by agency studies and affirmative evidence to result from plan provisions. C. Federal tax incentives up to a total of five billion dollars total extended to firms for the training of disadvantaged workers. D. Establish stress reduction programs to address occupational and other stress through relaxation response breaks, exercise regimens, meditation, and social support networks. Participation established on a voluntary basis. No drug or commitment therapies. On-going research into causes and therapies for stress. Research and manpower trained as necessary. E. Revenue losses to the government stemming from plan provisions will be replaced by plan revenue sources. Private firms compensated through tax reductions for additional expenses accrued under the plan.

Title three: In the event of military manpower shortages, the DOD [Department of Defense] will implement management, recruitment compensation, qualification and force realignment alternatives to minimize the adverse security impacts of such shortfalls. The Federal Reserve will not restrict the money supply in response to this proposal. University and college research programs adversely affected by declining enrollments due to expanded employment opportunities will be maintained at agency expense.

Title four: Congress will appropriate off-budget finance through confiscatory income taxes on secondary employment initiated subsequent to the implementation of the plan (with annual income excesses of over 20,000 dollars); elimination of offensive chemical and biological warfare R and D [research and development] and stockpiles; and the optimal combination of beef excise taxes, unallocated budget authority, elimination of the income splitting allowance, reductions in strategic military expenditures exclusive of submarine systems, and general revenues.

Title five: Enforcement through minimally sufficient means with appropriate civil and criminal penalties for non-compliance.

Title six: Affirmative speeches will serve as legislative history for purposes of court review and/or clarification of plan intent. Criteria of such review altered to assure maximum compliance with expressed affirmative intent.



Resolved: That the federal government should significantly strengthen the regulation of mass media communication in the United States.

Example Plan — Northwestern, NDT Final Round:

And now for something completely different which we exemplify in the following proposal to be phased in by minimally [sufficient], legitimate, statutory, and/or administrative changes over a three-year period.

Title one: Regulation of U.S. based, international broadcast communications will be strengthened. A. Radio Free Europe [RFE], Radio Liberty [RL], and the Voice of America [VOA] and their functional equivalents will be reorganized under the U.S. Broadcast Authority. Directors will be appointed in accordance with the Constitution. The Authority will be granted minimally sufficient power, staff, funding, information and other resources required to implement this proposal. B. Each of the radio services will retain independent direction of its programming operations, except as specified otherwise throughout the proposal. The radio services will be accountable through the Authority to the President and subject to normal judicial and congressional review, but to no other governmental authority.

Title two: The Authority will be implemented through the following regulations: A. RFE, FL, and VOA will be required to update and modernize their broadcast facilities. Such modernization will include solid-state transmission equipment, satellite feeding, and long-wave broadcasts, as well as any other steps to improve reception within the parameters of plan resources and existing international and national frequency allocation systems. B. Except for the accountability of the radio services to the President and Congress, government influence on broadcast content will be forbidden. The services will operate independent of executive agencies, such as the State Department, the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency], and the National Security Council. The VOA will be explicitly removed from the United States Information Agency. C. The Voice of America will be required to provide broadcast time to the Department of State and/or its designated representatives for the presentation of official U.S. policy positions. Such broadcast time will not exceed ten percent of total broadcast time, and must clearly be identified as the official position of the U.S. State Department. D. The services will have authority to draw upon a five million dollar contingency fund to cope with foreign exchange fluctuations.

Title three: Enforcement through dismissal and/or civil penalties not less than ten thousand nor more than one million dollars for non-compliance. Litigation conducted by the DOJ [Department of Justice] through normal judicial channels.

Title four: Finance through general revenues. Annual expenditure not to exceed one hundred million dollars in 1980 dollars. No reduction in existing allocations for RFE, RL, and VOA. Finance off-budget with initial allocations considered under the next budget ceiling.

Title five: Affirmative speeches will provide legislative intent for purposes of plan clarification and/or court review.


Resolved: That the United States should significantly increase its foreign military commitments.

Example Plan — Dartmouth, NDT Final Round:

On behalf of Cy, Robin, Tom, Steve, Ike, Ken, and Herb we support the following example of the resolution to be adopted through normal democratic procedure, and consultation with allies, and appropriate negotiations, and treaties and agreements, and the following will be adopted:

Plank one: Administration. The U.S. will Initiate establishment of the proliferation safety commission. Membership will include the U.S., at a minimum, and will be open to Russia, Britain, France, and China. American delegates will be appointed as ambassadors, with appropriate support, staff, and security clearance.

Plank two: Commitments. Commission nations will make available to nuclear weapons states: information, technical assistance, training, and equipment for: A. Physical and administrative safeguards against accidental and unauthorized use of nuclear weapons, including at a minimum PAL [Permissive Action Links] and detonation controls; and B. Weapons and C3 [Command Control and Communications] vulnerability reduction techniques such as hardening, dispersal, concealment, and submarines and surface ships as vulnerability-reducing delivery modes will be assisted or provided where deemed appropriate; and C. U.S. will initiate arms control agreements and confidence-building measures between proliferant states with commission verification. Appropriate hot line commission links between proliferant states is provided.

A nuclear weapons state is defined as a nation which has demonstrated nuclear weapons capability to the commission states. Commission states will screen assistance to preclude compromise of national security, increased instability, and increased recipient offensive capability. Otherwise, aid will be appropriate and cost-effective. Anti-proliferation sanctions will not be applied to assistance recipients. Confidentiality of assistance and weapons possession will be guaranteed upon request. Recipient choice with respect to accident and vulnerability assistance will be made available for other types of non-conventional weapons systems, including but not limited to chemical and biological warfare.

Plank three: Enforcement. Commission members may withdraw at any time: The U.S. will continue unilateral operation in such an event. Congressional oversight and judicial review will be provided. Judicial finding of violation will result in fines, imprisonment, and removal from office.

Plank four: Funding. Commission members and recipient states will share costs on a sliding scale, non-disruptive of ability to pay. American costs will be financed through off-budget, long term bonds and general revenues, including a reduction in tax cuts or increases.

Plank five: Affirmative speeches will provide legislative intent for the interpretation of plan provisions with emphasis on the 2AR [second affirmative rebuttal].


Resolved: That the federal government should significantly curtail the powers of the labor unions in the United States.

Example Plan — Redlands, NDT Final Round:

And we are especially pleased to be defending the resolution for the last time: “Resolved: That the federal government should significantly curtail the powers of labor unions in the United States.” We urge this because it has been over a hundred years since a war was waged to end slavery. We find, however, that that battle was only a be- ginning triumph over bigotry, and that even today millions of people must fight similar ignorance and prejudice simply because their skin is a different pigment, their religion recognizes another God, they hail from a different land, or even because they are a supposed inferior sex. While Bill and I do not suggest this example of the resolution as a means of educating ignorant people, we do believe it will redress the most grievous manifestation of such discrimination and recommend its implementation through all necessary legislative means over the next six months:

Plank one: Congress will amend the NLRA [National Labor Relations Act] to include EEO [Equal Employment Opportunity] rights as part of the Duty of Fair Representation [DFR], reaching all forms of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or national origin. DFR will be defined as an affirmative duty on the unions and its members to eradicate discriminatory effects as defined by Griggs v. Duke Power Co. The NLRB [National Labor Relations Board) and its general counsel will codify through rulemaking proceedings this affirmative duty and will require written assurances from all unions it certifies as exclusive bargaining agents and from all unions filing unfair labor practice claims that they are not engaged in such discriminatory practices. The NLRB will be in charge of over- sight and enforcement of the duties of the plan and the union assurances, with normal review procedures.

Plank two: The plan will not preempt any other agency or governmental level jurisdiction within its area of mandates, thus allowing for overlapping enforcement efforts. Naturally plan mandates are maintained regardless of NLRA disposition. Exhaustion of internal union is not necessary for plan jurisdiction, and the use of positive and negative sanctions for union EEO efforts are guaranteed to the NLRB.

Plank three: NLRB will be provided necessary resource and manpower with democratically appointed review boards for extra case load if required. Third party complaints will be allowed in administrative proceedings.

Plank four: Section 4a of the LMRA [Labor-Management Relations Act] will be amended to allow the NLRB to conduct economic analysis and other studies for purposes of examining collective bargaining within the jurisdiction of the plan. The NLRB will appoint a special advisory panel to study all phases and aspects of the plan which will provide ongoing information for purposes of rulemaking proceedings.

Plank five: A maximum yearly allotment of $500 million. Enforcement through remedies within NLRB jurisdiction including but not limited to back-pay liability, decertification, unfair labor practice complaints, cease and desist orders, and injunctions through appellate courts. Mis-, mal-, or non-feasance subject to penalties. Due process in all proceedings for legislative history clarification and will be added to all other available data for court review.


Resolved: That all United States military intervention into the internal affairs of any foreign nation or nations in the Western Hemisphere should be prohibited.

Example Plan — Kansas, NDT Final Round:

The U.S. government with appropriate consultation with allies will implement the following examples of the resolution within six months:

Provision (I): All U.S. military intervention into the internal affairs of any foreign nation or nations of the Western Hemisphere shall be prohibited. Maximum enforcement for Provision I, except as delineated for Cuba in Provision II, will be a fine of one United States dollar. Normal democratic procedures will be guaranteed.

Provision (II): All U.S. military intervention into the internal affairs of Cuba will be prohibited, as outlined in the following subpoints: (A) All U.S. military personnel and equipment at the military base on Guantanamo Bay will be withdrawn. (B) American trade and travel sanctions against Cuba will be terminated. (C) All unrequested U.S. military operations on the island of Cuba will be prohibited. All paramilitary attempts to overthrow the current Cuban government will be prohibited. (D) The radio station commonly identified as “Radio Marti” will be prohibited. (E) Enforcement for Provision II will be through normal democratic procedures, which will include increased communication between governments to assure compliance. Appropriate penalties, up to and including fines and/or imprisonment will be guaranteed for plan violators. Government and private options for future recommendation including but not limited to alternative solutions, alternative causalities, and cost benefits. (F) Any necessary funding will be appropriated through normal budgetary processes. Affirmative speeches will be used to clarify what we mean.


Resolved: That any and all injury resulting from the disposal of hazardous waste in the United States should be the legal responsibility of the producer of that waste.

Example Plan — Louisville, NDT Final Round:

Therefore, we offer the following proposal:

Section I, the mandates. Congress shall express its intent of allowing U.S. military servicemen recovery from any and all injuries resulting from the disposal of hazardous waste by amending the MCA [Military Claims Act], Section 2733 of Title 10 such that military servicemen shall not be exempt from the waiver of sovereign immunity through application of incident to service bar in suits for failure to warn as parallel with other provisions of the MCA statutes. The amendment will supersede relevant portions of conflicting legislation, U.S. codes and/or equivalents. Settlements under other statutory benefits will be set off any award under the MCA. Failure to warn will be recognized as the post-discharge tort compensable with the MCA statute, and the United States government shall accept indemnification for payment of claims leveled against the military officials.

Section II, implementation. Funding through general federal revenue. Enforcement through appropriate judicial proceedings including the availability of judicial review to ensure that any and all injuries resulting from the disposal of hazardous waste should be the legal responsibility of producer of that waste. Any non-topical or unconstitutional plan provisions will be severed with the remaining provisions remaining in full force and effect. Debate speeches will serve as history with affirmative speeches indicating what we mean.


Resolved: That the United States federal government should significantly increase exploration and/or development of space beyond the earth’s mesosphere.”

Example Plan — Iowa, NDT Final Round:

In order to enhance our ability to detect an ET signal, we advocate the adoption of the following plan to be implemented through minimally sufficient legislative means:

Plank one: Mandate. The federal government will increase the exploration of outer space by reserving the frequency band from 1400 to 1727 megahertz for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Systems currently utilizing these bands will be shifted to alternative frequencies as feasible.

Plank two: Ancillary provisions. Enforcement through existing means. Legislative intent based on affirmative speeches.



Resolved: That the federal government should adopt an energy policy that substantially reduces nonmilitary consumption of fossil fuels in the United States.

Example Plan — Harvard, NDT Final Round:

Hence, the plan.

First, legislation shall be adopted which abolishes the NRC and replaces it with a Nuclear Power Safety Administration, NPSA, under the direction of a single Administrator. Procedural changes in the licensing process shall be Mandated.

a. The NPSA shall promulgate a rule providing for the licensing of standardized reactor designs, provided such designs are 90 percent complete; have been the subject of hearings which allow full public participation, at least equal to that previously allowed for construction or operating permits; and a working example of the reactor has been experimentally demonstrated to be safe from catastrophic failure. In all cases, the requirements for standardized licenses shall be expressed in terms of performance; however, graphite modulated modular high temperature gas cooled reactors shall receive early consideration.

b. The NPSA shall promulgate a rule which provides for one-step, construction and operating licenses.

c. Standardized design approvals shall be reviewable after a period of 10 years, and one step licenses may be reviewed, at the discretion of the NPSA.

d. The NPSA shall promulgate a rule which requires that existing nuclear plants comply with performance standards including comprehensive safety reviews and safe operation.

e. The plan if necessary will guarantee a substantial increase in the use of nuclear power. The intent of the plan is to increase the use of nuclear power.

Second, enforcement through normal provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act. Any funding possibly necessary will be guaranteed. Aff speeches shall serve to clarify intent.


Resolved: That the United States should significantly increase the development of the earth’s ocean resources. (CEDA)

Example Plan — Michigan State, CEDA Final Round:

In order to correct the problems of the status quo, we present our plan. The US government, acting through the National Marine Fisheries Services, will change the current open access fishing to be replaced by a system of ITQs or Individual Transferable Quotas for fish research to determine a maximum sustainable yield or MSI—Y along with a total allowable catch or TAC will take place to determine the areas in which ITQs are economically and ecologically sound. Funding will be through normal means, which includes auction fees to purchase quotas. Enforcement will be through normal means. Our speeches will clarify our intent.


Resolved: That the United States Federal Government should amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, through legislation, to create additional protections against racial and/or gender discrimination.

Example Plan — Northwestern, Pre-NDT Disclosure:

Congress will amend Title VII, making gender discrimination against uniformed military personnel actionable under Title VII. Congress will create a narrow Bona Fide Occupational Qualification for combat, as supported by Robin Rogers.



Resolved: That the United States Federal Government should substantially increase its development assistance, including increasing government to government assistance, within the Greater Horn of Africa.

Example Plan — Iowa, Pre-NDT Disclosure:

The US will ensure that Uganda has an adequate supply of condoms to meet their needs. Funding and enforcement guaranteed. We reserve the right to clarify intent.


Resolved: That the United States Federal Government should substantially increase federal control throughout Indian Country in one or more of the following areas: child welfare, criminal justice, employment, environmental protection, gaming, resource management, taxation.

Example Plan — Northwestern, Kentucky Round Robin:

The United States federal government should require, under Title 26 of the 1992 Energy Policy Act, a substantial expansion of soft energy research, development, and deployment throughout topically designated areas, The united states federal government should mandate field testing of soft energy techniques throughout topical areas. All necessary funding will also direct colleges in topical areas to engage in programs with the United States Federal Government concerning the deployment of soft energy. We’ll clarify our plan.


Resolved: that the United States Federal Government should ratify or accede to, and implement, one or more of the following: The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty; The Kyoto Protocol; The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court; The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty; The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Strategic Offensive Reductions, if not ratified by the United States.

Example Plan — Emory, Pre-NDT Disclosure:

The USFG should ratify and implement the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.


Resolved: that the United States Federal Government should enact one or more of the following: Withdrawal of its World Trade Organization complaint against the European Union’s restrictions on genetically modified foods; A substantial increase in its government-to-government economic and/or conflict prevention assistance to Turkey and/or Greece; Full withdrawal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Removal of its barriers to and encouragement of substantial European Union and/or North Atlantic Treaty Organization participation in peacekeeping in Iraq and reconstruction in Iraq; Removal of its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe; Harmonization of its intellectual property law with the European Union in the area of human DNA sequences; Rescission of all or nearly all agriculture subsidy increases in the 2002 Farm Bill.

Example Plan — Michigan State, NDT Prelim:

The United States Federal Government should substantially increase conflict prevention assistance to Greece and Turkey by offering to mediate the Aegean. Negotiations should be based on a dual track give-and-take model, and should address the disputes over the continental shelf, territorial waters, air space rights, sovereignty over the Eastern Aegean islands and demilitarization of the Eastern Aegean islands.


Resolved: That the United States Federal Government should establish an energy policy requiring a substantial reduction in the the consumption in the total non-governmental consumption of fossil fuels in the United States.

Example Plan — Northwestern, Dartmouth Round Robin:

We ask you to affirm that: the United states federal government should sue the precautionary principle as the criteria for formulating and implementing regulations on the non-governmental consumption of fossil fuels in the united states such that precautionary measure apply even if some cause and effect relationships proving harm to present or future human and non-human communities can not be established scientifically.


The United States Federal government should substantially increase diplomatic and economic pressure on the People’s Republic of China in one or more of the following areas: trade, human rights, weapons nonproliferation, Taiwan.

Example Plan — Michigan State, Pre-NDT Disclosure:

The United States Federal Government should require that United States exports of tobacco and tobacco products to the People’s Republic of China meet minimum marketing and labeling standards equivalent to United States domestic law unless the People’s Republic of China adopts and enforces those standards. We get to clarify.


Resolved: The United States Supreme Court should overrule one or more of the following decisions: Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 1992); Ex parte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1 (1942); U.S. v. Morrison, 529 U.S.598 (2000); Milliken v. Bradley, 418 U.S. 717 (1974).

Example Plan — Emory, NDT Prelim:

The United States Supreme Court should overrule the decision in United States v. Morrison by holding that Commerce Clause jurisprudence sustains a federal civil rights remedy for gender-motivated violence.



Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce the size of its nuclear weapons arsenal, and/or substantially reduce and restrict the role and/or missions of its nuclear weapons arsenal.

Example Plan — Michigan State, Dartmouth Round Robin:

The United States Federal Government should prohibit the use of the United States Federal Government’s nuclear weapons against the Russian Federation unless the Russian Federation has used a nuclear weapon against another nation or national agency.


Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase its democracy assistance for one or more of the following: Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen.

Example Plan — Georgetown, Wake Forest Tournament:

The United States federal government should substantially increase its civil society support to non governmental organizations for Egypt.


Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially reduce restrictions on and/or substantially increase financial incentives for energy production in the United States of one or more of the following: coal, crude oil, natural gas, nuclear power, solar power, wind power.

Example Plan — Northwestern, NDT Prelim:

The Executive branch of the United States should acquire small modular nuclear reactors for military installations in the United States.


Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially increase statutory and/or judicial restrictions on the war powers authority of the President of the United States in one or more of the following areas: targeted killing; indefinite detention; offensive cyber operations; or introducing United States Armed Forces into hostilities.

Example Plan — Georgetown, NDT Octafinals:

The United States Federal Government should restrict the President’s war powers authority to introduce armed forces into hostilities that are not under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.


Resolved: The United States should legalize all or nearly all of one or more of the following in the United States: marihuana, online gambling, physician-assisted suicide, prostitution, the sale of human organs.

Example Plan — Northwestern, NDT Prelim:

The United States should legalize nearly all online gambling in the United States through interstate compacts, requiring that transactions be conducted using Bitcoin.


Resolved: The United States should significantly reduce its military presence in one or more of the following: the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, the Greater Horn of Africa, Northeast Asia.

Example Plan — Harvard, NDT Semifinals:

The United States should significantly reduce its military presence in Uganda.


Resolved: The United States Federal Government should establish a domestic climate policy, including at least substantially increasing restrictions on private sector emissions of greenhouse gases in the United States.

Example Plan — Harvard, NDT Prelim:

The United States federal government should inaugurate an emissions trading system for greenhouse gases in the United States.


Resolved: The United States Federal Government should establish national health insurance in the United States.

Example Plan — Harvard, NDT Prelim:

The United States federal government should inaugurate single-payer financing for health services.


Resolved:  The United States Federal Government should substantially increase statutory and/or judicial restrictions on the executive power of the President of the United States in one or more of the following areas: *authority to conduct first-use nuclear strikes; *congressionally delegated trade power; *exit from congressional-executive agreements and Article II treaties; *judicial deference to all or nearly all federal administrative agency interpretations of statues and/or regulations; *the bulk incidental collection of all or nearly all foreign intelligence information on United States persons without a warrant.

Example Plan — Kentucky, NDT Semifinals:

The United States federal government should statutorily prohibit nearly all bulk collection of foreign intelligence information on United States persons by the United States armed forces for domestic law enforcement purposes.



Resolved: The United States Federal Government should establish a national space policy substantially increasing its international space cooperation with the People’s Republic of China and/or the Russian Federation in one or more of the following areas: • arms control of space weapons; • exchange and management of space situational awareness information; • joint human spaceflight for deep space exploration; • planetary defense; • space traffic management; • space-based solar power.

Example Plan — Cal Berkeley, Wake Forest Finals:

The United States federal government should establish a prohibition on exoatmospheric collision testing with the People’s Republic of China.


Resolved: The United States Federal Government should reduce its alliance commitments with Japan, the Republic of Korea, North Atlantic Treaty Organization member states, and/or the Republic of the Philippines, by at least substantially limiting the conditions under which its defense pact can be activated.

Example Plan — Dartmouth, NDT Final Round:

The United States federal government should not include harboring terrorist organizations under its interpretation of “armed attack” in article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.

One thought on “Plan Writing In Policy Debate: Example Plans From 1970 to 2021

  1. Bill Batterman Post author

    If anyone has NDT Final Round plan texts that I am missing — or any representative plan texts from the years that I’m missing, especially the late 1980s and 1990s — please share them here or email them to me.

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