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All of the cabinet members for the United States Federal Government should be replaced by elected councils of three.

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Bugsy460Bugsy460 (PRO)
Thank you ZZBrandon for accepting this debate. Best of luck to you!


1. "cabinet members" shall be defined as the Secretary of State, Treasury, Defense, the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Labor, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, Education, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, and Attorney General.

2. "elected councils of three" shall be defined as three individuals for each job elected for six year terms, individually elected two years apart in a direct national election (no electoral college).

3. To clarify my definitions, all of the Secretaries for departments as well as Attorney General shall be replaced by these councils. These councils will each hold an election every two years for one of the spots and be in submission to all existing branches.

My Case

1. Firstly, these departments act as legislators and aren't held accountable to the public. From 1995 to 2016, there has been an average of 27 departmental rules and regulations passed for every law.1 Very simply, Congress has handed all of their legislative power to the executive branch, and the majority of the power is chosen in the singular election of president. The president (who is chosen through a filtered, unequal process within the electoral college) then appoints all of these secretaries. Without the ability to choose who is creating these regulations, we have no say in the majority of federal statute affecting our lives. Similarly, that's also why we need councils of three. Without dividing the Secretary position, we are inherently electing a legislative dictator in their field.

2. Allows the US to show a diversity of political thought. Very simply, the nation can express liberal thought in certain areas and conservative in other. For example, when asked "A proposal has been made that would give all families with children in public schools a voucher allowing them to enroll their children in private schools instead, with government helping to pay the tuition. Would you support or oppose this proposal?", 44% of respondents said they would support while only 39% said they would oppose.2 This shows conservative leanings in how we value education, but this doesn't mean that we are conservative as a nation in all values.  A separate issue would be immigration. When asked "Thinking now about immigrants -- that is, people who come from other countries to live here in the United States, in your view, should immigration be kept at its present level, increased or decreased?", 36% want to maintain, 34% want increase, and 28% want decrease.3 With liberal immigration values and conservative education values as a nation, why should our presidential choice implement a secretary that simply won't be on board with the American public. With the ability to vote on councils, we could have a liberal majority run the Department of Homeland Security and a conservative majority run the Department of Education. I know this example is simplified since their are other issues at stake for both of those departments, but the principle stays the same. 


Our Congress has ceded a large portion of their legislative power to the Executive, and the only way to ensure this power is held accountable to citizens is by electing these positions. To allow for diversity of political values in our government as well as hold the implementation of these values accountable, we have to elect secretary councils to replace our current Cabinet Members.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-08-07 17:25:25
| Speak Round
GekkGekk (CON)

Thank you Bugsy460! Looking forward to another lively debate!

I agree with the framework and definitions for the debate however I will add the following background specifically to the framework of our debate and for historical purposes.

Established in Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution, the Cabinet's
the role is to advise the President on any subject he may require relating
to the duties of each member's respective office.
The Cabinet includes the Vice President and the heads of 15 executive
departments as stated previously.

My Counter Case:

The cabinet members are appointed by the president, however, each cabinet member must be confirmed by the senate.
Each specific position even has a review committee to decide if the cabinet member is qualified to be an advisor to the president as shown below.
Further, there have been several instances where someone who is appointed for the cabinet position never makes it past the senate as shown in the chart below.
As far as power goes the cabinet does not overall have a great amount of power. The cabinet is an advisory board to the president and any powers are truly just the presidents and the powers within the executive branch of government. The role of the cabinet is to serve as advisors to the executive branch as experts in their specific fields/disciplines.

The cabinet does not have the power to create or enforce laws and policies.
Having elections for expert advisors could add additional political undertones to the presidency that is not needed and would be an additional tax burden as cabinet members are already paid a minimum of $206,000/year. If anything there should perhaps be stricter criteria on who the president can appoint as his cabinet members as opposed to increasing the number of cabinet members and adding additional unneeded elections to an already controversial election cycle every 2 years.

In Sum:

Cabinet members have very little power despite their pay and position as the power in the executive branch is ultimately within the presidents hands when making final decisions. Adding additional cabinet members and elections would be costly for taxpayers and the current system allows for a large amount of oversight by the senate which has elected officials to represent American voters when deliberating on the qualifications of an appointed cabinet member.


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-08-07 17:59:11
| Speak Round
Bugsy460Bugsy460 (PRO)

I just want to clarify that Vice President isn't a part of this debate. That's why the position wasn't included in the definition. My opponent didn't bring up any Vice President specific points, so I don't think this clarification will be an issue.

My Case

1. My opponent simply said that they don't have power to create or enforce legislation, but completely ignores the 27 rules and regulations made for each individual law. A specific example would be the Code of Federal Regulations, which is the list of all regulations from executive agencies of the United States Federal Government.1 If all of these agencies don't have legislative powers, then why does this legally binding code of regulations exist? Why am I not allowed to go whaling under Title 50, Chapter II, Subchapter D, Part 230.3, unless I have a proper permit? This was never voted on by Congress and was implemented by the Department of the Interior and departments under them. Very simply, these departments have been granted legislative power and actively use it, more actively than Congress. By electing councils to these positions, we can ensure that this legislative activity is placed back in the hands of the people, rather than in the hands of bureaucrats. 

2. My opponent dropped the point about political diversity. Very simply, we can express liberal thought in some areas and conservative thought in others by allowing all of these secretary positions to be elected on the merits of their positions, rather than one political party through the President.

Opponent's Case

1. My opponent pointed out that these positions have to be approved by the Senate, but doesn't give any reason for why this doesn't mean we should have elections. Very simply, Senate approval just means our representatives approve someone to right laws for us as citizens. Legislative power of all kinds should be under the direct accountability of the people, not indirect. This is the reason Senate elections went from being held in state legislatures to direct election of Senators under the 17th amendment.2 Indirect representation for this legislative power isn't enough, especially when all of these positions will still share a party, not allowing political diversity in the positions.

2. My opponent brings up the cost of these elections and paying these Secretary positions, but there's two issues with this.
A. Deficit spending is already an unsolvable issue. We've had deficit spending every year, even if it's less than a billion, since 1929.3 On top of that, we currently have a federal debt of $26 trillion.4 My opponent is worried about an additional $9.27 million in pay and the costs of adding positions to ballots. This is negligible to our existing debt, and shouldn't be valued if we can strengthen our democracy. Putting such a relatively small price tag on it and calling to expensive for our democracy is simply unacceptable. It is next to nothing compared to our current debt and we shouldn't put a price tag on democracy.
B. We might be able to save money in the long run. By holding all of these regulatory agencies directly accountable, they might spend less money on regulation. If Secretary Candidates are calling for expensive reforms to systems, they could lose elections. By holding these positions accountable, the public might be able to wrangle in spending.

I have affirmed the resolution because I have shown that Congress has ceded their legislative power to bureaucrats we can't hold accountable. These elections will allow the public to hold them accountable while also allowing the public to show how they feel about each department, rather than a bundle package through the Presidential Election. I have also shown Senate approval and the federal cost of this plan doesn't mean it shouldn't happen, and with that, vote Pro!


Return To Top | Posted:
2020-08-08 06:15:12
| Speak Round

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Dang, ran out of time, got so busy this week, didn't have time to login :(
Posted 2020-08-17 01:07:53
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