Following U.S. citizen’s killing in West Bank, Cotton plans to reintroduce Taylor Force Act follow-up

Sen. Linsdey Graham, a lead sponsor of the Taylor Force Act, said ‘nobody suggests to me [it] is inadequate to the task.’

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Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) speaks with reporters after attending a closed-door, classified briefing for Senators at U.S. Capitol Building on February 14, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) plans to reintroduce legislation next Tuesday cracking down further on Palestinian Authority payments to the families of terrorists, Cotton spokesperson James Arnold told Jewish Insider yesterday. The move follows the killing of American-Israeli citizen Elan Ganeles in a terrorist attack in the West Bank on Monday,

Cotton’s bill, the Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act, takes aim at foreign banks involved with the PA’s so-called “martyr payments” by restricting banks that facilitate such payments or provide services to Hamas from doing business in the U.S. or with U.S. dollars. The bill’s title references Taylor Force, a U.S. army veteran killed by a Palestinian in 2016. A previous Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018, largely cut off aid to the PA as long as it continues the payments.

The Cotton bill was first introduced in 2021, garnering 17 Republican co-sponsors in the Senate. A companion bill in the House by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) picked up 20 Republican and two Democratic sponsors. It’s unclear that the bill would see a different fate in the Democratic-controlled Senate this year. Lamborn did not respond to a request for comment.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the lead Senate sponsor of the original Taylor Force Act, told JI that he believes the original act is largely working as intended, and that he is not currently focused on further legislation relating to the martyr payments.

“I think it’s actually working,” Graham said of the original bill. “Nobody suggests to me the Taylor Force Act is inadequate to the task.”

Graham was an original co-sponsor of Cotton’s bill in 2021. He told JI his attention is currently focused on establishing a joint U.S.-Israel mutual defense agreement with an eye toward the threat from Iran.

Ganeles grew up in West Hartford, Conn., and lived in Israel for several years before returning to the U.S. to attend Columbia University.

“My thoughts are with Elan Ganeles’ family and friends as they grieve this devastating loss. Any life lost to violence is a senseless tragedy, but especially when it’s a young person who had his whole life ahead of him,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) told JI in a statement. “I offer my deepest condolences to all who knew Elan and to the entire Jewish community in West Hartford.”

Murphy also leads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Near East subcommittee.

Rep. John Larson (D-CT), who represents West Hartford, said in a statement, “My heart and prayers go out to Elan’s family and friends as they mourn this tragedy… Elan was an accomplished young man and was active growing up in our West Hartford community. May his memory be a blessing to all who knew him.”

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