Sen Graham: Taylor Force Act now added to omnibus

 The Senate is expected to pass the Taylor Force Act as part of the $1.3 trillion omnibus appropriations bill this week, according to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who introduced the legislation last year. The bipartisan Taylor Force Act will cut off U.S. economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority until they cease payments to terrorists and their families. The omnibus faces a Friday midnight deadline in order to prevent a government shutdown.

RECAP: The House passed the Taylor Force Act in December but it was held up in the Senate after Senate Republicans insisted that a sunset clause requiring Congress to re-pass the legislation in later years be removed. Senate Republicans also pulled two exemptions — vaccinations for children and wastewater projects. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer promised to do “everything possible” to help get it passed, preferably by unanimous consent. However, after Rep. Eliot Engel’s staff insisted on the exemption for water treatment totaling $37 million, the only other path would be allocating floor time for a stand-alone vote. As floor time is especially limited, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell preferred not to allocate it for this.

WHAT CHANGED LAST NIGHT: The breakthrough came after Senate and House leaders reached a compromise with Engel where the exemption for wastewater projects is capped at $5 million. “The goal is to punish the Palestinian Authority for these payments but the wastewater efforts have proven to be a successful project,” Graham told us.

Graham tells us: “After over two years of very hard work, we’ve achieved our goal of having the Taylor Force Act become law. This is one of the most significant pieces of legislation I’ve been involved with. The effort by the pro-Israel community led by Sander Gerber and the power of the Force family made it possible. This was truly bipartisan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer worked together. House Speaker Paul Ryan was very supportive. This will give us leverage with the Palestinians to push back on what I think is outrageous. You can make more money being a terrorist than getting a real job. This has to end.”

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