Actor (policy debate)

Actor (policy debate)

In policy debate, an actor is an entity that enacts a certain policy action. If a plan were to have the U.S. send humanitarian aid to Sudan, then the actor would be the United States federal government.

Many times, actors are subdivided into more specific "agents".

The most common agents include the Supreme Court, the President (usually through the use of an Executive Order), and Congress. Sometimes, the actors get smaller and devolve into Executive agencies. For example, on a previous high school debate topic—the use of renewable energy—the plan could use the Department of Energy.

Sometimes the Negative will use a counterplan to solve for the harms of the affirmative and the most common method of doing so is by the use of an agent counterplan, which simply does the mandates of the Affirmative plan through the use of another agent. Sometimes, the Negative will even use another country. If the Affirmative plan were to send peacekeeping troops to Congo, then the Negative would have Bangladesh (or any other country), do it.

Theoretical debates often ensue as to the legitimacy of agent counterplans. For a video about agent counterplans, try []

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