If Congress doesn’t pass a bill to address mass shootings, they shouldn’t be paid, Cleaver says

·2 min read
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Kansas City, introduced a bill Thursday that would suspend pay for members of Congress every time there is a mass shooting.

His bill comes in the immediate aftermath of two mass shootings this month — one in Buffalo, New York, where a racist gunman killed 10 people and one in Texas where an 18-year-old killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in the last week of classes before summer vacation.

Cleaver, who is a United Methodist pastor, said he proposed the bill because he is tired of Congress neglecting to take action in the aftermath of another mass shooting.

“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,” said Cleaver, a former Kansas City mayor. “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.”

Every month there is a mass shooting in which four or more people are killed, the bill would suspend the pay of members of Congress for a month. It is unlikely to become law.

There have been 10 mass shootings that have killed four or more people in 2022, according to the Gun Violence Archive, an independent data collection group. At least one has occurred every month this year except March.

In the immediate aftermath of the shooting in Texas, the U.S. Senate did not bring a U.S. House-approved bill strengthening background checks for people who purchase guns to a vote. A group of lawmakers has begun meeting about potential bipartisan legislation that could pass the Senate, but the bills remain a long-shot in a Senate that is evenly split among party lines.

While there have been inklings of support among some Republican senators for a federal red flag law — which would allow authorities to seize the guns of someone determined to be a danger to themselves or others — a similar bill proposed in the House of Representatives did not get any Republican votes when it passed a House committee.

The red flag bill will get a vote on the floor of the House when they return the first week of June from their Memorial Day Weekend recess.

After the shooting in Buffalo, the House of Representatives passed a bill intended to give the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation more power to go after domestic terrorists.

It was blocked in the Senate Thursday.

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