Senate Updates the Taylor Force Act

WASHINGTON – After extensive consultations, an updated version of the Taylor Force Act has been released, signaling increased momentum towards passing the legislation. The bill, introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in February would cut off U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) until they cease payments to families of terrorists.

Based on the recommendation of Elliott Abrams, a former senior official in the George W. Bush administration who testified on the legislation before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month, the new text contains an exemption for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network. The legislation would also allow continued payments towards Palestinian humanitarian programs as the bill only restricts funding to programs, which “directly benefit the Palestinian Authority.”

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Bob Corker (R-TN) has repeatedly promised that he plans on passing a “Taylor Force-like Act” by the August recess.

While some pundits, including former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro and former Obama administration official Ilan Goldenberg, proposed inserting a National Security Waiver allowing the president the ability to delay implementation, no such waiver exists in the updated version.

In addition to ceasing the payments, the Taylor Force Act also requires the PA to “revoke any law, decree, regulation or document authorizing or implementing a system of compensation for imprisoned individuals that uses the sentence or period of incarceration of an individual to determine the level of compensation paid.”

The bill also obligates the U.S. Secretary of State to submit a report annually attesting to the Palestinians’ fulfillment of ending the terror payments.

In July, a senior Trump administration official told Jewish Insider, “While the Administration agrees with the high-level goals of the Taylor Force Act, it is currently in Congress’s hands and we will continue to closely monitor the specifics of the legislation.”

“When a government recognizes terrorism as a valid form of political resistance, how can they possibly be ready for peace? Corker asked during the July 12 hearing. “We face a fairly basic question. Should U.S. taxpayer dollars support a government that incentivizes terrorism? I believe the answer is ‘no.’

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