The recent congressional scuffle over border security and aid to both Ukraine and Israel highlights an often overlooked issue: Congress is too reliant on massive omnibus spending bills.

Instead of taking the time to debate and vote on border security, foreign aid, and next fiscal year’s budget, Congress has made repeated attempts to package it into one massive bill — to our detriment.

Congress’s power of the purse is one of its most well-known and potent constitutional duties, and yet it has failed since 1996 to pass its budget on time. Omnibus spending bills are a problem in and of themselves because they weaken representative government and enable fiscal carelessness. But they are also a symptom of a change in Congress’s view of its own role in government. Lawmakers have turned to omnibus bills as an easier way to pass all kinds of legislation, instead of confronting increased political partisanship and the pervasive, inappropriate use of the filibuster.

It is time for lawmakers to take back the appropriations process and treatmajor (and expensive) policy challenges — from foreign aid to the border — properly.

Under our constitutional norms, appropriating money to fund the federal government should be an exacting process. Congress has immense capacity to shape the size and scope of the federal government through the budget, and given our sky-high deficit, we should be reining in spending.

For most of the country’s history, Congress followed a tried and tested process whereby 12 individual appropriations bills were brought to the floor every year to be debated, amended, and voted on (known as the “regular order”). New substantive legislation played little to no role in deciding how to fund the government. There are practical reasons for this: Passing substantive legislation is arduous by design, and funding the government should not be delayed by the friction of the legislative process.

But starting in the 1970s, lawmakers began to use the appropriations route — and acceptthe high stakes associated with a potential government shutdown — to pass contentious social legislation that might not survive traditional congressional examination and floor debate. Congress realized that omnibus spending bills are an effective way to avoid the filibuster.

This tactic still works today — and it needs to stop.

Omnibus spending bills are undemocratic. In contrast to bills passed under the regular order, the omnibus ones are thousands of pages long, commit billions of taxpayer dollars, and are drafted and passed by just a few key congressional leaders. (Rank-and-file members rarely get to finish reading the monstrosities, let alone debate them.) For constituents, there is no hope of holding elected officials accountable for what the omnibus bills contain — the lawmakers are likely unaware of much of it. As for the president, his veto power is practically meaningless when the political costs are so high.

It is undeniable that omnibus spending bills are efficient: They bulldoze the deliberative process, and they do it with unmatched speed. But American governance was not designed with efficiency in mind. In fact, just the opposite: Our system purposely trades efficiency for democratic deliberation. Although lawmakers may have gained a legislative tool, they have weakened their commitment to their constituents and to representative government in the process.

Abandoning the appropriations process in favor of omnibus spending bills also has serious financial consequences. Instead of acknowledgingthat net interest on debt is now the government’s fourth-largest budget item and acting to reduce it, Congress keeps adding to the balance and has ceded its most powerful tool for controlling spending: visible, accountable appropriations.

Perhaps the most concerning ramification of omnibus bills is the effect they have on our dwindling faith in Congress as an institution. Lawmakers seem to find the time for never-ending Twitter tirades but falter when it’s time to carry out their baseline duties. Congress has deliberately chosen the omnibus spending bill path — a path that makes democracy difficult and fiscal responsibility impossible — and they alone have the power to change it.

To start, there needs to be a serious national conversation about weakening the power of the filibuster if there is any hope of returning to the regular order, in whichlegislation is actually debated and amended. But then — an admittedly much longer project — Congress needs to revive budget committees and live up to its constitutional duties by severing the appropriations process from the passage of unrelated legislation.

If Congress hopes to get spending under control and restore our faith in its ability to do its job, it can’t afford any more omnibus bills.