Will Voters Hold Congress Accountable for their Failures?
Congressman Emanuel Cleaver representing the 5th District of Missouri has introduced legislation to penalize lawmakers for not dealing with the problem of mass shootings in the United States.
In a press release Congressman Cleaver said, “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."
The press release then goes on to detail what Democrats have tried to do over the years to push for what Cleaver calls "common-sense reforms." And then talks about how Republicans in the Senate and Republican Presidents have managed to block or repeal many of the efforts.
According to the release, in the 117 Congress, Democrats in the House of Representatives have passed multiple pieces of legislation aimed at stopping gun violence. This includes the "Bipartisan Background Checks Act" and the "Enhanced Background Checks Act. It also claims, "Republicans in the Senate have rejected any and every reform passed by the House of Representatives to improve gun safety."
Cleaver's "No Pay Until Peace Act" is designed to penalize every Member of Congress one month's salary each month there is a mass shooting in the United States, which the Act defines as four or more killings in a single incident. You can read the official text of the "No Pay Until Peace Act" here.
The press release quotes Cleaver explaining why he's introduced the act.
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.
I'd be surprised if the act goes anywhere. It's rhetoric. It's political theater. And at its best, it will rile up and energize Cleaver and Missouri Democrats. Yet, we should all look at Cleaver's statement above. "Every lawmaker should be held accountable for the unconscionable failure to do something, anything, that will save lives."
Think about that. What have our elected officials on both sides of the aisle really done for us? I don't believe the mark of good government is free healthcare, free college for everyone, restrictions on a woman's right to choose, or banning guns. At the end of the day, none of that will make our country healthier, smarter, more moral, or safer.
I think the mark of good government is trying to really solve our Country's problems. How can we get everyone who wants good healthcare access to it affordably? How can we help young women and men learn what they need to to get good jobs and be good leaders in their community affordably? How can we not take away women's right to choose, while making it easier for women to choose life for their fetus? And how can we solve the issue of the moment: keeping Americans safe from gun violence?
Yes, we should hold our lawmakers accountable for the unconscionable failure to do something, anything, that will make America a better place for all. But we won't because that may mean not voting with your tribe. And at this point, politics is just a sport with winners and losers. We know who lost this week, we just don't care to do much more than send our thoughts and prayers.