WASHINGTON, DC — The House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed the Taylor Force Act (House Resolution 1164) on Wednesday, taking the United States government one step closer to cutting funding to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it refuses to end its practice of “pay for slay,” which involves rewarding terrorists for killing Americans and Israelis.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) initially introduced the legislation last year in honor of a former U.S. army officer and a Vanderbilt University student who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist on March 8, 2016, while visiting Tel Aviv.
Terrorists who kill Jews and Americans are rewarded up to $3,500 per month.
The Taylor Force Act passed the Foreign Affairs Committee by unanimous consent. The bill will now head to the House floor for a vote.
No Democrats co-sponsored the legislation.
However, after the language of the bill was adjusted to make three exceptions, a few Democrats expressed their willingness to come on board. Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL) and Tom Suozzi (D-NY) said they would support the bill following adjustments to the legislation, which includes allowing for U.S. funding to Palestinian water, funding for childhood vaccination programs, and ensuring funding to East Jerusalem hospital networks.
“I am grateful the Taylor Force Act made it through the House Foreign Affairs Committee with a bipartisan vote,” Lamborn said in prepared remarks. “I believe the changes to my bill maintain the important points.”
Lamborn added, “It is unacceptable that American taxpayers are funding Palestinian terrorism – the very terrorism that took the life of an American veteran like Taylor Force” and said that the passage of the bill “is an important first step in stopping U.S. tax dollars from funding Palestinian Terrorism. … The Palestinian Authority must be held accountable for glorifying terrorism by paying terrorists and naming streets in Ramallah after Palestinians who murder Jews.”
Chairman Ed Royce and I have worked to ensure this bill moves forward. The next step is to bring it to the House floor and ultimately send it to the President’s desk. … In Taylor Force’s memory and all other innocent victims of Palestinian terrorism, I urge House Leadership to bring this bill to the floor so we can ultimately make this legislation into American law.
The Foreign Affairs panel also advanced House Resolution 3542, the Hamas Human Shields Prevention Act, which was introduced by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and House Resolution 2712, the Palestinian International Terrorism Support Prevention Act of 2017, introduced by Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL).
All three bills were voted on en bloc.
HR 3542 imposes sanctions against Hamas for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, such as the use of civilians as human shields, and would sanction foreign governments and individuals for providing material and financial support to Hamas, which is recognized as a terrorist organization. The House passed similar legislation regarding Hezbollah last month.
HR 2712 calls for sanctions against supporters of Hamas, including Qatar and Iran, and would impose sanctions against countries that support the terrorist organization and other Palestinian terror groups.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said:
I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Taylor Force Act, introduced by Congressman Doug Lamborn, which would withhold economic assistance to the Palestinian Authority until it publicly condemns acts of violence against American and Israeli citizens and has stopped financially rewarding terrorism.
He went on to say, “Palestinian terrorists who murder innocent Americans and Israelis are not martyrs, and their cowardice should certainly not be celebrated or financially rewarded, especially with United States tax dollars.”
During the hearing, Rep. Mast pointed out that “Hamas is not the only terrorist organization that benefits from Iranian support. The Palestinian Islamic jihad receives considerable support from Iran,” saying that “this bill will increase accountability. It will further isolate these bad actors.”
Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) spoke in support of the Taylor Force Act: “The Palestinian Authority pays teachers about $500 a month. It pays terrorists, like the one who killed Taylor Force, up to $3,500 a month. These are demented priorities,” Suozzi said. “These heinous terrorists make peace impossible. They are an affront to American values.” He declared, “Taylor represented the best of America.”
“Palestinians are among the world’s largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid,” Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) said. “Any aid that we can give to the PA puts money in their coffers that then supports their heinous payouts. It is time that we end funding to the PA, and the Taylor Force Act does just that.”
Donovan noted that starting in fiscal year 2018 and continuing for five fiscal years, the Taylor Force Act would halt U.S. economic aid to the PA unless it takes credible steps to end violent acts against Israelis and Americans, it stops payments for acts of terrorism, it revokes laws that reward prisoners who carried out acts of terrorism, and it publicly condemns acts of violence and cooperates with investigations into said acts.
The Palestinian Authority is slated to designate approximately $344 million of its 2017 budget to its notorious practice of pay for slay and rewarding terrorists and their families with monetary compensation for carrying out their heinous crimes.