Leading US lawmakers express reservations over bill targeting PA terror payments

 

(JNS.org) Leading Senate Democrats and Republicans both expressed reservations over the Taylor Force Act, legislation that would cut U.S. economic aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if the PA continues to issue payments to terrorists and their families.

The Senate side of the U.S. Capitol. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday, the committee’s chairman, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), questioned the legislation’s “all or nothing” approach and suggested Israel would not necessarily support cutting funding to the PA due to fear of the PA being weakened. Corker pointed to calls he received last year from Israeli officials who were concerned about a similar proposal by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to cut U.S. funding to the PA. 

The Taylor Force Act is named after a former U.S. Army officer who was killed in a Palestinian terror attack in Jaffa last year.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.), the Foreign Relations Committee’s highest-ranking Democrat, said that while he supports the premise of the bill—that “terrorists must not be rewarded for their acts”—he questions the unintended consequences that might result from the measure’s passage. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who introduced the legislation earlier this year, said the PA’s financial support for terrorists is “inconsistent with a two-state solution, inconsistent with peace, and we need to stop our emboldening of this practice.”

The pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, which has previously pressed for an end to the PA’s terror payments, has so far declined to endorse the Taylor Force Act.

No Trump administration officials were present at Wednesday’s hearing on the legislation.

“It would have been nice to get an administration official here, so that we could get the views of the administration on this important subject,” Cardin said.

Posted on July 12, 2017 .