WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released the following statement after the Taylor Force Act was approved 17-4 by the committee. Senator Cardin is a cosponsor of the legislation, which now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
“I was pleased to vote for S. 1697, the Taylor Force Act, in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. I support the objectives of the Taylor Force Act, and am pleased that Senator Corker led the committee in crafting a bill that garnered bipartisan support. I also congratulate Senator Graham, whose leadership produced today’s successful committee vote.
“The Palestinian Authority must stop paying prisoners serving time in Israeli jails for acts of terrorism, as well as the families of deceased terrorists. This practice incentivizes acts of terrorism against Israeli and U.S. citizens.
“The important step taken today by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is intended to send an unambiguous signal to the Palestinian Authority that it must stop incentivizing terror. U.S. assistance that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority cannot continue until the abhorrent prisoner payment system ends.
“This bill is not intended to undermine or stop much-needed humanitarian aid that is delivered through vetted U.S. non-governmental organizations to Palestinians in need.
“I also am pleased that there is an exception for the East Jerusalem Hospital Network, and that Senator Kaine’s amendment to create the Palestinian Authority Accountability Fund was adopted. This escrow account will hold the assistance funds that directly benefit the Palestinian Authority as a positive inducement to accelerate the end of the prisoner payment system.”