Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) introduced a bill Thursday that would withhold congressional pay in the aftermath of a mass shooting.
The No Pay Until Peace Act would withhold a month of pay from all members of Congress every month that a mass shooting occurs, defined as four or more people being killed from one incident. Cleaver put forward the bill following the Tuesday shooting at a Texas elementary school that killed 21, including 19 students, as legislation on guns has long been stalled in the Senate.
“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,” Cleaver said in a press release.
Cleaver said Democrats have attempted a range of methods to pass gun control legislation, pursuing bipartisan agreement on “common sense reforms” like universal background checks, but Republicans have impeded these efforts.
The Democratic-controlled House passed two significant pieces of legislation last year that would expand background checks, but they have not made progress in the Senate. Although Democrats are in the majority in the Senate, 10 Republicans must support advancing the bill to overcome a filibuster, and Senate Republicans have overwhelmingly not been supportive of these measures.
Cleaver cited statistics from the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence that Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed from gun violence than residents of other high-income countries.
Throughout 2022, the United States has averaged almost 1.5 mass shootings per day and more than 10 per week, according to the Gun Violence Archive. A mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo killed 10 just a little over a week prior to the Texas school shooting.
“The time for thoughts and prayers has come and gone — now is the time for concrete action,” Cleaver said. “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.”