WASHINGTON — Missouri U.S. Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver on Thursday introduced legislation to withhold pay of members of Congress following mass shootings.

According to a release from Cleaver’s office, “The No Pay Until Peace Act” would withhold one month’s paycheck from every Congress member each month there is a mass shooting in the United States, constituting four or more killings in a single incident.

Democrats and the White House are pushing to expand background checks and to ban assault-style weapons like the two used by the suspected gunman in Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers.

Cleaver said the time for thoughts and prayers has come and gone, now is the time for concrete action.

“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,” he said.

According to Giffords Law Center, Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed in homicide involving a gun than residents of other high-income countries, and across 29 other high-income countries, 93% of children ages 0 to 14 years old killed by guns are from the United States.

Missouri has the fourth-weakest gun laws in the nation with Kansas not much better, at number six.

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., wants Congress to increase the penalty for people who commit violent gun crimes.

“Send the message that if you commit these kinds of crimes and you do it with a firearm, you’re going to do serious time,” Hawley said.

In an interview with FOX4 Wednesday, Missouri State Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, a Republican also running for U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s seat, said he does not know if you can correlate the rise in crime to the repeal of the permit that used to be needed to purchase a firearm or not.

“We’ve got problems in our society that obviously we need to address that you know, the devaluing of human life and the problems that are out there,” he said. “There’s a lot of things that should be addressed as well as we’re trying to figure out how to get a grip on where things are going right now.”

Cleaver criticized Republicans for using the filibuster to foil any attempt to pass common sense reforms like universal background checks.

“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.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said he’s hoping both sides can find common ground to act.

“This is not an excuse to infringe the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. Doing that will do nothing to fix tragedies like this,” Cornyn said. “Access to mental health treatment is high on that list.”

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