Senate schedules hearing on Taylor Force Act for next week
Several leaders in the Democratic Party have inched closer to supporting the legislation in recent weeks.
By MICHAEL WILNER
WASHINGTON -- The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold its first hearing next week on a bill that would cut aid to the Palestinian Authority if it continues providing stipends to the families of convicted murderers and terrorists in Israel.The bill, titled the Taylor Force Act, was introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and has earned mostly Republican support. Senate Democrats have been lobbying for edits to the legislation that would provide the State Department with some wiggle room to negotiate with the PA over the nature of its program and the timing of aid cuts, should the PA continue with the scheme.Several leaders in the Democratic Party have inched closer to supporting the legislation in recent weeks. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York has spoken out against the Palestinian program, and Ben Cardin, ranking member of the foreign relations committee, said that his Senate colleagues would "find a way" to pass the bill in one form or another.Israel considers the program immoral and inflammatory, while the PA claims that several of the assailants affected have been imprisoned on political charges.The Trump administration has repeatedly raised the issue of terrorism funding with Palestinian officials, with one senior official telling The Jerusalem Post that the PA program represents a "major impediment" to Israeli-Palestinian peace. But the White House has not endorsed the Taylor Force legislation, specifically– nor have the nation's largest Israel advocacy organizations, such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.The Senate panel holds its hearing on Wednesday, where Eliot Abrams– a supporter of the bill– will testify. No vote has been scheduled.