Congress Must Stop Governing By Crisis


By Senator Chris Coons | January 20, 2018 At some point, Congress needs to do better than government-by-crisis, short-term fixes, and sidestepping difficult issues. That time is now. Congress must start solving the problems that we’ve failed to address for months, years, and even decades.

Members of Congress all have solemn responsibilities to debate, legislate, and budget the way that the American people expect us to. Short-term bills drafted in haste may “push the can down the road," but they don’t meet the test of basic governance.

Our politics do not have to be this way. We can find bipartisan solutions through concession and compromise. Together we can forge a deal that protects Dreamers, secures our borders, and makes common sense reforms to our immigration system. Democrats and Republicans owe it to the taxpayers to find the best possible method of enhancing our border security without breaking the bank.

Democrats are willing to work with Republicans to make new investments in the military as part of a sensible, long-term spending bill. Both parties want to and can reauthorize and fund the Children’s Health Insurance Program and Community Health Centers, and we can lend a helping hand to millions of hurricane and wildfire victims who need assistance.

We can get back to setting a budget every year, making smart investments, and again using bipartisanship to effectively and efficiently fund and run the federal government. We’ve done it before. I know we can do it again.

The problem right now is that Republicans, who control the White House, the House of Representatives, and the Senate, are unwilling to work across the aisle in a meaningful way.

Just last week, President Trump chose to convene a bipartisan meeting and welcome legislators to deliver a fix to DACA. Days later, a strong bipartisan group of senators returned with an agreeable proposal. The plan invested in border security, addressed some of the issues related to family migration that the President demanded, and added protections for DACA recipients.

After all that work, the President blew it up. He doesn’t want to be flexible. He doesn’t want to listen.

President Trump wrote in The Art of the Deal that he’s a “great believer in asking everyone for an opinion before” making a decision. He also claims that he's flexible and doesn't “get too attached to one deal or one approach.” I know the President can make a deal and can consider other “approaches to making it work.”

However, the President's recent actions relating to DACA create an environment in which it is hard for Democrats to believe that Republicans are serious about addressing the current issues at another time. Both parties owe it to all Americans to find long-term solutions and put a stop to these short-term patches.

Despite these setbacks and disappointments, I will continue to partner with Republican senators who want to work together in a bipartisan manner. I will continue to encourage healthy debate and promote the practice of proper legislating. I will embrace opportunities to work with my fellow Senators – Republicans, Democrats and Independents – whether it be in the Senate prayer breakfast or in the Senate gym. Hopefully, my colleagues will join me.

I am also hopeful that the President Trump will look back on his first year in office and come to the conclusion that he can do better. There is more than enough room for improvement for him and for us in Congress.

Chris Coons is the junior Senator from Delaware and is a member of the Democratic Party.