As if we needed yet another example of just how dysfunctional our government is, enter the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)/immigration gridlock tied to the threat of shutting down the government — again.

Shutting down the government, really? Haven’t we seen this movie before? Yes we have. I have even written several columns about past "shutdown pending crises," but with different supporting actors.

This year it is DACA/immigration that some are trying to tie to the bill. Last year it was the president’s budget proposal causing the shutdown crisis, and in 2013 the government actually did shut down because repealing Obamacare was one of the added-on issues.

Every year, there seems to be crisis after crisis in Congress stemming from looming deadlines. For decades, I have been shaking my head at the total inability of our government to effectively deal with deadlines.

Meeting deadlines without the drama; is that too much to ask?

Individuals do it all of the time in our personal lives and workplaces, yet how often does an “emergency” arise on the Hill because some deadline or another is rapidly approaching?

What can be done? Here’s what I would suggest to help alleviate the problem.

Enough with this tacking stuff onto bills being proposed. This is what causes all of the delays, which then turn into vitriol and deeper schisms between the parties. One item per bill. No “pork” or ideological add-ons.

After enacting that process, the next factor for eliminating the majority of the crises is scheduling. There are deadlines that have to be met, and with the “one issue per bill” policy, proper planning to comfortably meet deadlines shouldn’t be difficult. Think about it. With a bill limited to only one issue, yea or nay should happen pretty quickly.

OK, so it is the government. Maybe "pretty quickly" is a reach, but it certainly would reduce the time spent arguing over add-on parameters. If legislative scheduling is properly constructed, it would eliminate the time crunch.

This is not rocket science. Can our elected officials not heed the advice we give to our children to learn from your mistakes?

In our latest self-imposed crisis, the term “clean bill” is being bandied about regarding DACA. They should all be clean bills!

DACA, immigration, funding the government — if standing alone, each issue is surely easier to tackle than throwing them all into an arena with the rest of us appalled at the dog fighting before us.

As of the writing of this column, all is still up in the air. Whatever happens, isn’t it time that we stop holding the functioning of the government hostage to whatever disputed issues happen to be on the table at the time?

I know nothing is simple in government, but this just seems like a no-brainer. If an issue can’t stand on its own merits, it deserves to be voted down.

Maybe our legislators will stop putting forth adjuncts to bills in the hope of “slipping them through” and start effectively legislating. I think it would go a long way toward reducing their self-inflicted crises.

Wendy J. Levenfeld is a published novelist, playwright and columnist from Chesterton. Send comments to wendylevenfeld@gmail.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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