Following more than 200 mass shootings in the United States of America in 2022 alone, U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) this week introduced legislation to withhold pay of Members of Congress following mass shootings. The No Pay Until Peace Act would withhold one month’s paycheck from every Member of Congress each month there is a mass shooting in the United States, constituting four or more killings in a single incident.

“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,” said Congressman Cleaver. “Democrats have tried reaching across the aisle to make the most simple, common sense reforms like universal background checks; we’ve tried passing legislation on a partisan basis, only to be foiled by the filibuster; we’ve pushed for executive action, which inevitably gets reversed the minute a Republican enters the White House; we’ve tried roundtables and respectful debate; we’ve tried shaming and criticizing the empty remarks of my Republican colleagues following every heartbreaking massacre. Still, over the last two decades, we’ve seen the production of guns triple, mass shootings on a daily basis, and gun violence become the number one cause of death for American children, outpacing car accidents for the first time in decades.”

“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. I don’t doubt that many of my colleagues would rather have a campaign check from the NRA than a paycheck for their obstruction in Congress—but we can’t continue with the unacceptable status quo, and this bill will, hopefully, make my colleagues across the aisle think twice before sitting on their hands while the next mass shooter plots more carnage in another community.”

According to Giffords Law Center, Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed in a gun homicide than residents of other high-income countries, and across 29 other high-income countries, 93 percent of children ages 0 to 14-years-old killed by guns are from the United States. On the 146th day of 2022, the United States has already experienced 213 mass shootings, averaging nearly 1.5 mass shootings per day.

In the 117th Congress, Democrats in the House of Representatives have passed multiple pieces of legislation to combat the increase of gun violence and mass shootings in communities throughout the nation, including the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Enhanced Background Checks Act. From implementing universal background checks to closing the Charleston loophole to giving the FBI additional time to complete background checks, Republicans in the Senate have rejected any and every reform passed by the House of Representatives to improve gun safety.

“No one in this great nation should have to receive a phone call with the news that their baby, mother, grandfather or any family member has been killed in a mass shooting, and I refuse to accept that there is nothing we can do to prevent such tragedies—because nowhere else in the world do they occur at this scale,” said Congressman Cleaver. “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.” 

Official text of the No Pay Until Peace Act is available here.

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee’s Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.