WASHINGTON - The House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee approved on Wednesday the "Taylor Force Act," a bill that would cut U.S. funding to the Palestinian Authority unless it stops paying salaries to convicted terrorists and their family members. The bill passed unanimously in the committee, clearing it for a vote on the floor of the entire House of Representatives. The bill was also approved earlier this year in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and it is expected to pass in both houses of Congress in the coming weeks.
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The version of the bill passed on Wednesday included three major exemptions for programs that would continue to receive U.S. funding even if the Palestinian Authority doesn't change its policies. One exemption is for hospitals in East Jerusalem; another is for water projects in the West Bank (an issue that the Trump administration has tried to promote in recent months as part of its' renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process); and the third for vaccinations of children.
The bill is named after Taylor Force, an American citizen and army veteran who was murdered in a terror attack in Tel Aviv in March 2016. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the chairman of the committee, said after the vote that "with this legislation, we are forcing the PA to choose between U.S. assistance and these morally reprehensible policies, and I am pleased to see the measure move forward with so much support." The committee also passed two bills on Wednesday that target Hamas for its' terror activities and for using Palestinian civilians in Gaza as human shields.