Skip to main content

Missouri Lawmaker Pushes to Withhold Pay from Members of Congress Every Month There Is a Mass Shooting in U.S.


Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.)

A Democratic Congressman from Missouri has proposed a bill that would withhold paychecks from every member of Congress every month in which there is a mass shooting in the United States.

The No Pay Until Peace Act was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) has proposed a bill that would withhold the pay of members of Congress after mass shootings.

Specifically, the bill provides:

If during any month of a year a mass shooting occurs in the United States, the annual rate of pay applicable under section 601(a) of the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946 with respect to each Member of Congress for the year shall be reduced by an amount equal to the product of—

(1) an amount equal to one month’s worth of pay under such annual rate; and

(2) the number of months during the year during which a mass shooting occurs in the United States.

The bill further provides that any salary withheld from a member of Congress is to be held in escrow and released on that member’s last day in office. In this way, the payroll administrator is directed to ensure that the amount of compensation due to these elected officials is not varied from any amount to which they are statutorily entitled.

Cleaver represents Missouri’s Fifth District.

Cleaver had harsh words for his fellow members of Congress.

“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.

“Democrats have tried reaching across the aisle to make the most simple, common sense reforms like universal background checks,” he continued, saying that such efforts were “foiled by the filibuster.” Any action taken by a sitting president, said Cleaver, “inevitably gets reversed the minute a Republican enters the White House.”

Cleaver continued:

[W]e’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.

Cleaver is the U.S. Representative for Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, and a member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus.

Read the full text of the bill below:

[image via Emmanuel Cleaver]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Elura is a columnist and trial analyst for Law & Crime. Elura is also a former civil prosecutor for NYC's Administration for Children's Services, the CEO of Lawyer Up, and the author of How To Talk To Your Lawyer and the Legalese-to-English series. Follow Elura on Twitter @elurananos