Taylor Force Act addition seeks to block 'pay for slay'

“Such flouting of anti-terrorism financial regulations is only possible through the maintenance or use of correspondent accounts at United States banks.”

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing for Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 5, 2020 (photo credit: ANDREW HARNIK/POOL VIA REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee nomination hearing for Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 5, 2020
(photo credit: ANDREW HARNIK/POOL VIA REUTERS)

WASHINGTON – A group of 13 Senate Republicans, spearheaded by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), on Monday introduced the “Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act,” a bill “aimed at eliminating Palestinian ‘martyr payments.’”

According to Cotton and his colleagues, banks in “nominally friendly jurisdictions” evade United States anti-terrorism sanctions by avoiding an official presence in the United States “and continue to knowingly provide banking services, including dollar-denominated transactions, for terrorist organizations.

“Such flouting of anti-terrorism financial regulations is only possible through the maintenance or use of correspondent accounts at United States banks for the benefit of terrorist organizations,” the bill reads.

The legislation says the secretary of the Treasury should find foreign financial institutions that flout anti-terrorism financial regulations to be of primary money laundering concern, “and prohibit the maintenance or use of correspondent accounts in the United States by such institutions.”

Cotton introduced the bill in a press conference alongside Republican senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham at the King David Hotel ahead of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham at the King David Hotel ahead of the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem (credit: TOVAH LAZAROFF)

Taylor Force’s murder led to the passing of the Taylor Force Act in both houses of Congress. The act cuts non-humanitarian US aid to the Palestinian Authority until it stops paying terrorists and their families.

“Radical Islamic terrorists shouldn’t be rewarded for killing innocent people, and banks should be held responsible for processing any sort of ‘martyr payments.’ Our bill will build upon the Taylor Force Act to ensure Palestinian terrorists don’t benefit financially for committing these senseless murders,” Cotton said.

Taylor Force’s father, Stuart Force, said at the press conference, “In the years since our son Taylor was killed in 2016, we have been dedicated to making certain that at least some good emerges from our loss. Our first mission was the enactment of the Taylor Force Act in 2018, which limits the US aid to the Palestinian Authority while it continues its reprehensible ‘pay-for-slay’ program of compensating terrorists and their families.

“We’ve recently come to the realization that the job is half done, and the truth is the payments have continued and those responsible have not been held accountable,” Force continued. “The Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act seeks to finish the job by providing the US government with an important new tool to disincentivize banks from being part of the martyr-payment program and deny them access to the US financial system until they stop doing it.

Force added, “Speaking from personal experience, we can tell you, this is not a theoretical problem. The family of the Hamas terrorist who murdered Taylor and was celebrated as a hero by Hamas has been receiving martyr payments as reward for his despicable act.”