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Governing by chaos is not governing, The American people deserve so much better.

As usual, the consequences of this Congressional ineptitude will be felt by citizens, not politicians.
Image: Members of 115th Congress are sworn into office at the U.S. Capitol
Members of the 115th session of Congress are sworn into office on Jan. 3, 2017.MICHAEL REYNOLDS / EPA

It’s been four months since the federal budget year ended, nearly four months since President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and four months since Republican leadership allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to expire.

Over the course of these months, and again this week in the midst of the first government shutdown since 2013, Republican leaders in Congress have proven they simply cannot get anything done.

Responding to emergencies with Band-Aids creates chaos in Congress, and governing by chaos is not governing.

This chaos starts at the very top. Trump created chaos when he decided to end DACA, when he threatens the free press, when he undermines the independence of the FBI and the special counsel’s investigation. He creates chaos daily by tweeting and using defamatory language when talking about other countries.

Similarly, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell created chaos when he promised Sen. Susan Collins a vote to stabilize the healthcare markets that never happened.

Republican Speaker Paul Ryan creates chaos when he tries to run the House as a Republican chamber, caving to the extreme, right-wing Freedom Caucus in order to pass legislation without Democratic cooperation or input.

Responding to emergencies with Band-Aids creates chaos in Congress, and governing by chaos is not governing.

As usual, the consequences of this chaos will be felt by American citizens, not politicians. This week, Republican leadership missed yet another opportunity to craft meaningful long-term solutions. Finding a way to keep the federal government open for another few weeks is not an accomplishment worth celebrating. In reality, resorting to short-term spending bills and continuing resolutions — kicking the can down the road from one emergency spending bill to the next — is irresponsible and dangerous.

By refusing to negotiate with Democrats and consider bipartisan solutions, the GOP has failed to pass a long-term funding bill that reflects the needs and priorities of the American people. These are priorities like combating opioid abuse, continuing the recovery efforts in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and California after devastating natural disasters, funding community health centers and finding a permanent, bipartisan legislative solution for Dreamers.

Now, Republicans and Trump are once again promising consideration of legislation to address DACA. They have assured Democrats that it will move forward on a “level playing field.”

Dreamers haven’t had a level playing field since Trump ended DACA this fall.

Today I stand with the vast majority of Americans who want to see their government protect these hundreds of thousands of young people who are Americans in every way other than on paper. Democrats and Republicans can and must work together toward solutions that not only relieve Dreamers of the threat of cruel deportations, but also start to fix the glaring deficiencies that exist across our immigration system.

A promise to work on important national priorities should not only come as the result of a crisis negotiation.

But a promise to work on important national priorities using a fair process should not be a novel plan, nor should it only come as the result of a crisis negotiation after a government shutdown.

Fairness and bipartisanship should be the norm, not solely the result of hard-fought compromises.

The simple fact is that Republicans have failed to show that they can wield unified power in a way that puts the good of the nation ahead of their own party’s extreme factions. Remember, this is a party that controls both the House and the Senate.

You cannot govern by funding the government just weeks at a time. The chaos of constant budget battles negatively affects our military, our seniors, our veterans, important medical research, and vital infrastructure improvements.

As Defense Secretary Mattis said back in August, “It makes us rigid. We cannot deal with new and revealing threats. We know our enemies are not standing still… So, it's about as unwise as can be.”

We need a spending bill that will ensure certain, stable, and robust funding of both domestic and military spending for the remainder of the year. We need to instill confidence and ensure stability. It’s time for Congress — Republicans and Democrats — to govern. That means working together responsibly and in a bipartisan way. The American people deserve better than the chaos they’ve endured over the past year.

Congressman Ted Deutch is a Democrat representing Florida's 22nd district in the House of Representatives. Deutch is a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, the ranking Democrat on the House Ethics Committee, and also the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee's Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee.