The House on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved legislation that would cut off U.S. taxpayer aid to the de facto Palestinian government if it continues to aid terrorists.
With unanimous consent, the swift passage of the Taylor Force Act brings the United States one step closer to stripping American funding from the Palestinian Authority until it ends its "pay to slay" policy, which distributes $300 million to terrorists and their families annually. The legislation now heads to the Senate for a floor vote.
Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he will work with his Senate colleagues to ensure quick implementation of the bill to "ensure the U.S. plays no part, even indirectly, in participating in this behavior."
"The purpose of our aid, as we understand it, is to advance U.S. interests around the world," Royce said in remarks ahead of the vote. "I think all of us can agree that does not include paying people to commit crimes of terrorism. The Palestinian Authority is flat-out undermining U.S. interests by compensating violence."
The bill, named after an American who was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Israel last year, is said to be part of a broader effort by the Trump administration and Congress to halt longstanding U.S. aid programs that have supported terrorists in the Middle East. The White House announced its approval of the measure in September.
Rep. Eliot Engel (D., N.Y.), ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, said the legislation takes aim at the Palestinian government's pay to play policy that "incentivizes terrorist attacks" and threatens peace talks.
"The Palestinian system of so-called martyr payments are downright disgusting," Engel said. "We're talking about a system that involves paying people on a sliding scale based on the death and destruction that they cause. It's simply sickening."