Taylor Force Act updated in Senate
Senate Republican have updated the Taylor Force Act (bipartisan legislation that would cut off U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until they cease payments to families of terrorists) by removing a sunset clause that would have required Congress to re-pass the bill in several years, Senate Republicans also pulled vaccinations for children and wastewater projects. The two exemptions were added to the bill passed unanimously by the House of Representatives last December. A previous exemption for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, a specialty health care facility, was maintained.
WHY IT MATTERS: On Sunday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer promised to do “everything I can to pass” the bill by unanimous consent. “I’ve checked with every Democratic senator,” Schumer said. “Not a single Democrat would block it.” The new version, however, which we’re told is still backed by Schumer, could face opposition among some Democratic lawmakers, forcing a floor fight.
Schumer’s spokeswoman Marisa Kaufman tells us… “Senator Schumer strongly supports the Taylor Force Act and, as Minority Leader, will do everything possible to help get it passed. Just this week, Senate Republicans made changes to the House-passed version, which senators are now closely reviewing.”
Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) urged Majority Leader McConnell and Schumer to bring the Taylor Force Act for a vote on the Senate Floor in a letter signed by another 62 House members. “It is time we hold the Palestinian Authority accountable for financially incentivizing terrorism. My colleagues and I urge the Senate to provide this critical legislation with a vote without delay,” Lamborn said in a statement.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? We’re told the bill was ‘hotlined’ earlier this week, which means leadership notified the Senate that they want to pass the bill by unanimous consent. Apparently no Republican Senators objected but it is unclear if any of the Democrats will object. If even one Senator objects, the bill will head for a floor vote. If the Senate passes the new version, the House would either have to pass the identical version of the bill or there could be a conference committee where members of both the House and the Senate work out a compromise bill, which is then passed by both chambers.
A Foreign Relations Committee aide tells us… “Senator Corker is proud of this bill. It reflects emerging consensus for the U.S. to finally ensure that no American tax dollars can benefit the Palestinian Authority until they end the despicable practice of rewarding terrorists like the one who murdered Taylor Force. The legislation received strong bipartisan support in committee, and we expect it to pass both chambers by a wide margin and become law in the near future.”
QUESTION REMAINS: Where is the White House on the updated version of the Taylor Force Act?