The Instigator
Con (against)
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The Contender
Pro (for)
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House Bill 813 (Surf-and-Turf Law) is Illegitimate and Invalid

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/9/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 640 times Debate No: 73208
Debate Rounds (3)
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Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin has introduced House Bill 813, also known as the "Surf-and-Turf" Law. This law prevents food-stamp recipients from using their benefits to purchase cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood, or steak. Brattin claims that the purpose of the new law is to "...get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,"

I am against this for many reasons, Challenger needs to support the law and prove why it would be beneficial.


Based on what the Con has argued, I affirm the 'Surf-and-Turf' Law. Why would I? Of course nutrition is absolutely necessary, even more so than food stamps.

My value that I will be upholding in today's debate is Security.
My Criterion, or way to achieve my value, is the takedown of the Federal Debt.
First, let's take a study on food-stamp recipients. According to the links below, including the US Census Bureau, 1 out of 5 Americans receive food stamps. Let's take a look at this through the lens of logic. Most likely, only 1 out of 50 people you know actually NEED food stamps. That means most people that receive food stamps don't need them. Let's take a look at this story. My pastor's family would, under the US limitations, be defined as 'poor'. Their family must support 2 adults as well as 2 adult children (one has moved out), 2 teenagers (those eat a lot xD), and 2 more children. That's wwwaaaaaaaaaayyyyy more than the average of children. Also, they are technically 'poor'. Yet they can provide full nutrition for all 6 kids without any food stamps. What is the impact of this example? 1. Many of the people that use food stamps do not need them 2. many of the people who use food stamps are not 'poor'.
Why does 1. apply to the resolution?
Contention 1: Limits are necessary.
a. Deterrence
If we impose regulations like these that prohibit the purchases of these awesome foods, people will want to get off of food stamps, because they want to buy those awesome foods. The decrease in recipients of food stamps will lead to less spending on government welfare, which in turn either a) decrease the national debt, achieving Security, or b) freeing up funds for other purposes, such as the military, again protecting Security.
b. Limitation
These limits will keep people from spending a lot of money on extravagant foods (which inherently means expensive), which means less cost for food stamps, which leads to the benefits in sub-point a.

Contention 2: No harms
Throughout contention 1 we've seen that: not only does this bill bring benefits, but it also has no inherent harms.

Contention 3: No benefit.
The purpose of this law, which the Con kindly pointed out, is to protect the national welfare by promoting nutrition. Although the foods listed in the Con's speech are good, I believe we should have another plan:
a. Plan: other nutritional foods.
Some of the foods that the Con listed are junk foods. They don't provide nutrition. Examples are cookies, chips, and soft drinks. The nutritionality of energy drinks are debatable. The other foods, seafood and steak, are NOT NECESSARY for good nutrition. There are substitutes for energy drinks, such as carbohydrates, and seafood and steak, which provide protein and calcium, find their substitutes in other meats, eggs, and milk.
b. the Con
The Con has brought forward no real benefit to voting for his side. That's why I continue to stand resolved that House Bill 813 is legitimate and valid.
Thank you for bearing with me.
Debate Round No. 1


You make some good arguments. Although i have a few questions about what i believe to be inconsistencies and things that need to be further explained.

First of all, i would like some clarification on your terms. When you say, "My value that I will be upholding in today's debate is Security."...What do you mean by 'Security'? In terms of definition, and its relevance to the argument...

Now about your 'Food Stamp Recipient' argument. I recognize the statistics from the US Census Bureau, but i do have an issue with how your opinions turn into facts.... looking through a 'lens of logic' doesn't just make things true. 1 out of 5 americans receive food stamps. From that fact you cannot determine how many people 'NEED' them. I completely understand that there is a percentage of people that take advantage of the system, However i am defending those who don't, which is the majority of recipients. The 'Food Stamp' Program, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) as it is now called, has criteria to become a recipient.

These criteria are:
-Its gross monthly income ...generally must be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line....130 percent of the poverty line for a three-person family is $2,144 a month, or about $25,700 a year. The poverty level is higher for bigger families and lower for smaller families.[3]
-Its net income, or income after deductions are applied, must be at or below the poverty line.
-Its assets must fall below certain limits: households without an elderly or disabled member must have assets of $2,250 or less, and households with an elderly or disabled member must have assets of $3,250 or less.[4]
Using a family of 3 as the general example, the maximum amount of aid they could receive is only $511 per month. in addition to this, food stamps aren't only given to 'poor' people, but also the elderly and disabled.

And in response to the story of your pastors family. I don't know his exact situation, but i already know a few things about him from his occupation as a pastor. His income is looked at differently then most, because of his position as a pastor. In addition, as a pastor he fits into a different tax bracket, and has six kids, both of which qualify you for tax breaks.
I will counter your story with one of my own. I know a single mother, with 3 children. She is a full-time CNA, receives food stamps, and still struggles to support her family. she has a child in high school, who got a job. With the minor extra income of her child's job at the local grocery store, her family almost lost her capability for food stamps. I think that your definition of poor, and the governments aren't the same. Everybody has a story, and variables that make them unique, but we aren't looking at individuals we are looking at the population.

"Limits are necessary"- I agree with this ,but retort with "Why These?"
What are your definitions of 'Awesome' and 'Extravagant' foods? Mine are different, therefore these are opinions.

A.Deterrence? I completely disagree with this logic. Yes, less spending on welfare means you can spend more on military. But then technically if we spent less on military... we could put more into welfare... as of 2014, the national budget was 11% for 'Safety-Net' (Which includes more than just food stamps) and 18% for Defense.... But thats not what this is about.
B.Limitation? this just repeats sub-point 'A'...

"No Harms"
I disagree with contention 1, in that the bill brings benefits. The 'Surf-and-Turf' bill does have inherent harms and consequences for the people affected by it. First, nutritionally. I realize that people can survive on bread, water, milk, and eggs, but why should SNAP recipients be limited to buying that? There are all of these great things out there to eat, and they only get the most basic of the food groups? A lot of people are in situations they can't get out of, and government assistance is what is keeping them afloat. Another harm is purely social, so it is intangible but not imaginary. Food stamp recipients could feel degraded and humiliated, by being denied anything more than the basics.

"No Benefits"
I agree that from your standpoint, you see these points. However, I disagree with the basis of the 'plan'. Yes, i would also consider chips, cookies, and soft drinks non nutritional, but they are still a part of a general diet. I don't agree with the restriction from 'Seafood and Steak' either. I look at it like this: You can go to the butcher and get new york strip steaks for $10 lb. or Kobe beef steak for $1-200 per lb. same with seafood.... you can get affordable products in these why ban them all? and as for energy drinks, I agree they are not necessary for a diet what-so-ever. the bill qualifies energy drinks as "...being specifically designed to provide metabolic stimulation or an increase to the consumer"s mental or physical energy." Yet it also says,"The term does not include coffee or any substantially coffee-based beverage" it excludes coffee and coffee based drinks... aren't they used for the same purpose just different tastes? That proves that it is not about nutrition, but about luxury.

These are the flaws i see in your argument. This is why i believe that House Bill 813 is illegitimate and invalid.


Dantheawesome forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


BBoehmig forfeited this round.


Dantheawesome forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
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