A Missouri congressman wants to withhold the pay of members of Congress after mass shootings

A Missouri congressman wants to withhold the pay of members of Congress after mass shootings
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver of Missouri.AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver wants to withhold the payments of members of Congress after mass shootings.
  • The congressman introduced the "No Pay Until Peace Act" to push members to act on gun control.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver on Thursday introduced legislation that would withhold the pay of congressional lawmakers following mass shootings.

As part of the "No Pay Until Peace Act," the proposal from the Missouri Democrat would designate that checks be retained for every member any time that a mass shooting occurs — as defined by four or more individuals being murdered in a single occurrence.

The congressman — a Methodist pastor — put forward the legislation in the aftermath of this month's mass shootings at a Tops supermarket in Buffalo, where 10 Black shoppers were killed in a racially-motivated attack; and at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 children and two teachers were murdered by an 18-year-old gunman.

"For as long as I've served in Congress, despite overwhelming support for gun safety reform from the public, I've watched this institution fail time and time again to take any serious, meaningful action to address the scourge of gun violence plaguing communities across the country — the only industrialized country where this kind of gun violence exists," he said in a statement.

He continued: "I'm sick and tired of seeing kids murdered at school, Americans gunned down at the supermarket or in their place of worship, and Missourians slaughtered on street corners because Congress refuses to do anything about gun violence. The time for thoughts and prayers has come and gone — now is the time for concrete action. And if lawmakers aren't going to do their jobs to protect the American people, then they ought not receive any compensation following the inevitable next mass shooting."


Cleaver lamented that Democrats have sought to pass additional gun control restrictions including universal background checks and red flag laws, which allow police to temporarily seize guns from individuals who are a threat to themselves or others — but have been continually stymied by Republican lawmakers.

The House last year successfully passed laws that expanded background checks for gun sales, but it was met with resistance in the Senate, where Democrats lack the 60 votes to overcome a GOP-led legislative filibuster.

Cleaver in his statement said the fact that the country has already experienced 213 mass shootings this year is a tragedy that demands immediate congressional action — and he put the onus on members of Congress.

"While the loss of one month's paycheck doesn't even begin to compare to the loss of a child, every lawmaker should be held accountable for the unconscionable failure to do something, anything, that will save lives," he said.