TAYLOR FORCE ACT
(House of Representatives - December 05, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 198 (Tuesday, December 5, 2017)]
[Pages H9648-H9653]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                            TAYLOR FORCE ACT

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
pass the bill (H.R. 1164) to condition assistance to the West Bank and 
Gaza on steps by the Palestinian Authority to end violence and 
terrorism against Israeli citizens, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 1164

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Taylor Force Act''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) The Palestinian Authority's practice of paying salaries 
     to terrorists serving in Israeli prisons, as well as to the 
     families of deceased terrorists, is an incentive to commit 
     acts of terror.
       (2) The United States does not provide direct budgetary 
     support to the Palestinian Authority. The United States does 
     pay certain debts held by the Palestinian Authority and funds 
     programs for which the Palestinian Authority would otherwise 
     be responsible.
       (3) The United States Government supports community-based 
     programs in the West Bank and Gaza that provide for basic 
     human needs, such as food, water, health, shelter, 
     protection, education, and livelihoods, and that promote 
     peace and development.
       (4) Since fiscal year 2015, annual appropriations 
     legislation has mandated the reduction of Economic Support 
     Fund aid for the Palestinian Authority as a result of their 
     payments for acts of terrorism including, in fiscal year 
     2017, a reduction ``by an amount the Secretary determines is 
     equivalent to the amount expended by the Palestinian 
     Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any 
     successor or affiliated organizations with such entities as 
     payments for acts of terrorism by individuals who are 
     imprisoned after being fairly tried and convicted for acts of 
     terrorism and by individuals who died committing acts of 
     terrorism during the previous calendar year''.

     SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

       Congress--
       (1) calls on the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine 
     Liberation Organization, and any successor or affiliated 
     organizations to stop payments for acts of terrorism by 
     individuals who are imprisoned after being fairly tried and 
     convicted for acts of terrorism and by individuals who died 
     committing acts of terrorism and to repeal the laws 
     authorizing such payments;
       (2) calls on all donor countries providing budgetary 
     assistance to the Palestinian Authority to cease direct 
     budgetary support until the Palestinian Authority stops all 
     payments incentivizing terror;
       (3) urges the Palestinian Authority to develop programs to 
     provide essential public services and support to any 
     individual in need within its jurisdictional control, rather 
     than to provide payments contingent on perpetrating acts of 
     violence;
       (4) urges the United States Permanent Representative to the 
     United Nations to use the voice, vote, and influence of the 
     United States at the United Nations to highlight the issue of 
     Palestinian Authority payments for acts of terrorism and to 
     urge other Member States to apply pressure upon the 
     Palestinian Authority to immediately cease such payments; and
       (5) urges the Department of State to use its bilateral and 
     multilateral engagements with all governments and 
     organizations committed to the cause of peace between Israel 
     and the Palestinians to highlight the issue of Palestinian 
     Authority payments for acts of terrorism and to urge such 
     governments and organizations to join the United States in 
     calling on the Palestinian Authority to immediately cease 
     such payments.

     SEC. 4. LIMITATION ON ASSISTANCE TO THE WEST BANK AND GAZA.

       (a) Limitation.--
       (1) In general.--For fiscal year 2018 and each of the five 
     subsequent fiscal years, funds authorized to be appropriated 
     or otherwise made available for assistance under chapter 4 of 
     part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2346 
     et seq.; relating to Economic Support Fund) and available for 
     assistance for the West Bank and Gaza that directly benefits 
     the Palestinian Authority may only be made available for such 
     purpose if, except as provided in subsection (d), not later 
     than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and 
     every 180 days thereafter, the Secretary of State certifies 
     in writing to the appropriate congressional committees that 
     the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine Liberation 
     Organization, and any successor or affiliated organizations--
       (A) are taking credible steps to end acts of violence 
     against Israeli citizens and United States citizens that are 
     perpetrated or materially assisted by individuals under their 
     jurisdictional control, such as the March 2016 attack that 
     killed former United States Army officer Taylor Force, a 
     veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;
       (B) have terminated payments for acts of terrorism against 
     Israeli citizens and United States citizens to any 
     individual, after being fairly tried, who has been imprisoned 
     for such acts of terrorism and to any individual who died 
     committing such acts of terrorism, including to a family 
     member of such individuals;
       (C) have revoked any law, decree, regulation, or document 
     authorizing or implementing a system of compensation for 
     imprisoned individuals that uses the sentence or period of 
     incarceration of an individual imprisoned for an act of 
     terrorism to determine the level of compensation paid, or 
     have taken comparable action that has the effect of 
     invalidating any such law, decree, regulation, or document; 
     and
       (D) are publicly condemning such acts of violence and are 
     taking steps to investigate or are cooperating in 
     investigations of such acts to bring the perpetrators to 
     justice.
       (2) Additional certification requirement.--The Secretary of 
     State shall include in the certification required under 
     paragraph (1) the definition of ``acts of terrorism'' that 
     the Secretary used for purposes of making the determination 
     in subparagraph (B) of such paragraph.
       (b) Exception.--
       (1) In general.--Subject to paragraph (2), the limitation 
     on assistance under subsection (a) shall not apply to--
       (A) payments made to the East Jerusalem Hospital Network;
       (B) assistance for wastewater projects; and
       (C) assistance for any other program, project, or activity 
     that provides vaccinations to children.
       (2) Notification.--The Secretary of State shall notify in 
     writing the appropriate congressional committees not later 
     than 15 days prior to making funds available for assistance 
     under subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) of paragraph (1).

[[Page H9649]]

       (c) Rule of Construction.--Funds withheld pursuant to this 
     section--
       (1) shall be deemed to satisfy any similar withholding or 
     reduction required under any other provision of law relating 
     to the Palestinian Authority's payments for acts of 
     terrorism; and
       (2) shall be in an amount that is not less than the total 
     amount required by such other provision of law.
       (d) Initial Use and Disposition of Withheld Funds.--
       (1) Period of availability.--Funds withheld pursuant to 
     this section are authorized to remain available for an 
     additional 2 years from the date on which the availability of 
     such funds would otherwise have expired.
       (2) Use of funds.--Funds withheld pursuant to this section 
     may be made available for assistance for the West Bank and 
     Gaza that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority upon a 
     certification by the Secretary of State that the Palestinian 
     Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any 
     successor or affiliated organizations have met the conditions 
     set forth in subsection (a). Except as provided in paragraph 
     (3), such funds may not be made available for any purpose 
     other than for assistance for the West Bank and Gaza that 
     directly benefits the Palestinian Authority.
       (3) Disposition of unused funds.--Beginning on the date 
     that is 180 days after the last day on which the initial 
     availability of funds withheld pursuant to this section would 
     otherwise have expired, such funds are authorized to be made 
     available to the Department of State for assistance under 
     chapter 4 of part II of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 
     (22 U.S.C.2346 et seq.; relating to Economic Support Fund) 
     for purposes other than assistance for the West Bank and 
     Gaza.
       (e) Report.--
       (1) In general.--If the Secretary of State is unable to 
     certify in writing to the appropriate congressional 
     committees that the Palestinian Authority, the Palestine 
     Liberation Organization, and any successor or affiliated 
     organizations have met the conditions described in subsection 
     (a), the Secretary shall, not later than 15 days after the 
     date on which the Secretary is unable to make such 
     certification, submit to the appropriate congressional 
     committees a report that contains the following:
       (A) The reasons why the Secretary was unable to certify in 
     writing that such organizations have met such requirements.
       (B) The definition of ``acts of terrorism'' that the 
     Secretary used for purposes of making the determination in 
     subparagraph (B) of subsection (a)(1).
       (C) The total amount of funds to be withheld.
       (2) Form.--The report required by this subsection shall be 
     submitted in unclassified form but may include a classified 
     annex.
       (f) List of Criteria.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 15 days after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall 
     submit to the appropriate congressional committees a list of 
     the criteria that the Secretary uses to determine whether 
     assistance for the West Bank and Gaza is assistance that 
     directly benefits the Palestinian Authority for purposes of 
     carrying out this section.
       (2) Update.--The Secretary of State shall submit to the 
     appropriate congressional committees an updated list under 
     paragraph (1) not later than 15 days after the date on which 
     the Secretary makes any modification to the list.

     SEC. 5. INITIAL REPORT.

       (a) In General.--Not later than 60 days after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of State shall 
     submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report 
     describing those programs, projects, and activities funded by 
     the United States Government that have been or will be 
     suspended by reason of withholding of funds under section 4.
       (b) Form.--The report required by subsection (a) shall be 
     submitted in unclassified form but may include a classified 
     annex.

     SEC. 6. ANNUAL REPORT.

       (a) In General.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
     the enactment of this Act, and annually thereafter for 6 
     years, the Secretary of State shall submit to the appropriate 
     congressional committees a report including at a minimum the 
     following elements:
       (1) An estimate of the amount expended by the Palestinian 
     Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any 
     successor or affiliated organizations during the previous 
     calendar year as payments for acts of terrorism by 
     individuals who are imprisoned for such acts.
       (2) An estimate of the amount expended by the Palestinian 
     Authority, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and any 
     successor or affiliated organizations during the previous 
     calendar year as payments to the families of deceased 
     individuals who committed an act of terrorism.
       (3) An overview of Palestinian laws, decrees, regulations, 
     or documents in effect the previous calendar year that 
     authorize or implement any payments reported under paragraphs 
     (1) and (2).
       (4) A description of United States Government policy, 
     efforts, and engagement with the Palestinian Authority in 
     order to confirm the revocation of any law, decree, 
     regulation, or document in effect the previous calendar year 
     that authorizes or implements any payments reported under 
     paragraphs (1) and (2).
       (5) A description of United States Government policy, 
     efforts, and engagement with other governments, and at the 
     United Nations, to highlight the issue of Palestinian 
     payments for acts of terrorism and to urge other nations to 
     join the United States in calling on the Palestinian 
     Authority to immediately cease such payments.
       (b) Form of Report.--The report required by subsection (a) 
     shall be submitted in unclassified form but may include a 
     classified annex.

     SEC. 7. APPROPRIATE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES DEFINED.

       In this Act, the term ``appropriate congressional 
     committees'' means--
       (1) the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on 
     Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives; and
       (2) the Committee on Appropriations and the Committee on 
     Foreign Relations of the Senate.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Royce) and the gentleman from New York (Mr. Engel) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from California.


                             General Leave

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their 
remarks and to include any extraneous material in the Record.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from California?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, today we consider the Taylor Force Act. This is 
bipartisan legislation that honors a courageous and patriotic young 
American, Taylor Force.
  Taylor was an Eagle Scout. He was a West Point graduate who served 
his country with distinction in Afghanistan and Iraq before he enrolled 
in Vanderbilt's MBA program. He was a young man with big dreams and 
loads of potential. Then Taylor's life was tragically cut short at the 
age of 28 when he was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist while on a 
business school trip to Israel.
  I had the honor of meeting again with Taylor's parents, Stuart and 
Robbi, who were on Capitol Hill today. They have worked so hard to make 
this bill a legacy for their son, to ensure that no other family has to 
experience what they have experienced. They have been so generous with 
their time, their spirit, their story. We are grateful for all of their 
efforts, and we wish them comfort as they continue to mourn the 
heartbreaking loss of their son.
  We need to be clear about responsibility for this vicious attack. The 
Palestinian Authority gives salaries to Palestinians who attack 
innocent people like Taylor. If the attacker dies, then the attacker's 
family is compensated under their law. I know it is hard for us to 
adjust to this, but it is Palestinian law to reward Palestinian 
prisoners in Israeli jails with a monthly paycheck. The Palestinian 
leadership also pays the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.
  It goes without saying that these policies clearly incentivize 
terrorism. In fact, this perverse pay-to-slay system uses a sliding 
scale: the longer the jail sentence, in other words, the greater the 
mayhem created there, the greater the reward. The highest payment goes 
to those serving life sentences, to those who prove, obviously, most 
brutal.
  This system is a disgrace. It is also the result of an abiding 
climate of hatred that Palestinian leaders continue to foster toward 
Jews, toward Israelis.
  As one witness told our committee: `` `Incitement' is the term we 
usually use, but hatred is what we mean . . . teaching generations of 
Palestinians to hate Jews by demonizing and dehumanizing them.'' That 
is what democratic Israel faces, and it is not getting any better.
  Yet, for a generation, we have given economic aid to the 
Palestinians, in large part, to try to stabilize their society to 
promote peaceful coexistence between the Palestinians and Israelis. 
This goal is undermined every day that the PA makes payments for acts 
of terrorism. This must stop.
  This bipartisan bill cuts off assistance that directly benefits the 
Palestinian Authority unless the PA takes credible steps to end acts of 
violence,

[[Page H9650]]

stops payments for acts of terrorism, revokes the laws requiring these 
payments, or takes actions comparable to revoking the laws, and 
publicly condemns these acts of violence.
  Our bill also requires consistent reporting to Congress that clearly 
explains how the administration makes its determinations. If our 
assistance is being withheld, the administration must report which of 
the PA's dangerous actions are continuing so that Congress can 
determine how to apply pressure going forward.
  Too many grieving families go to sleep every night knowing that money 
is changing hands as a reward for violence that killed one of their 
loved ones.
  With this bill, we are using the weight of U.S. law to help see that 
no more families--American, Israeli, or anyone--join their tragic 
ranks. We do this in the name of one brave American, Taylor Force, to 
honor the memories of all victims and, importantly, help prevent future 
victims. We also do it in the hopes of peace.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this bill, in strong support of 
this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank Ed Royce, the chairman of 
the Foreign Affairs Committee. I agree with everything he said in his 
remarks. I want to thank him for his hard work on this legislation. We 
worked closely together to make this bipartisan bill as strong as 
possible, while also taking care to limit any unintended consequences. 
That is what we have been doing on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and 
that is why we have been so successful in passing legislation. We do it 
in a bipartisan way.
  Let me begin by saying that the Palestinian system of so-called 
martyr payments is downright disgusting. We are talking about a system 
that involves paying people on a sliding scale based on the death and 
destruction that they cause. It is simply sickening.
  These payments clearly incentivize terrorist attacks, and they 
further threaten prospects for peace, pushing the chance for a 
Palestinian state further and further out of reach.
  This legislation was named for Taylor Force, an American victim of 
Palestinian terrorism. He was a West Point graduate and a veteran of 
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was stabbed to death in Jaffa in 
2016.
  The question we face is: How do we compel the PA, the Palestinian 
Authority, to end the martyr payment system?
  In 2015, appropriations bills began to include language cutting off 
funds for the Palestinian Authority by the amount that they spent on 
so-called martyr payments, but that didn't curb the practice.

                              {time}  1500

  We stopped giving the Palestinian Authority direct assistance, but 
the Palestinian Authority hasn't budged.
  We are now considering this legislation, which cuts all funds that 
directly benefit the Palestinian Authority if the Palestinian Authority 
continues to make these payments. This will make it crystal clear to 
the Palestinian Authority that so-called martyr payments are 
unacceptable, period.
  At the same time, the bill allows the United States to continue 
humanitarian and democracy assistance, which is in our interest and the 
interest of our ally Israel. It also includes a thoughtful exemption 
proposed by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Connolly) which exempts 
childhood vaccinations from the cuts required under this bill.
  Overall, I believe that this version of the Taylor Force Act strikes 
the right balance. Chairman Royce and I worked very hard to come up 
with a piece of legislation that both sides would support. The Foreign 
Affairs Committee unanimously passed this legislation. The message 
should be clear: this is not a partisan issue.
  We must send a message to the Palestinian Authority that these so-
called martyr payments, which are ``killing'' payments, must stop.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation that 
ensures no unintended consequences, and I reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn). He is the author of this 
important legislation.
  Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, this legislation is named after Taylor 
Force, and I wanted to say what a special honor it is that his parents 
are with us here today.
  I would like to especially thank the Speaker and majority leader for 
bringing this legislation to the floor for a vote. I also want to thank 
Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel for their leadership and strong 
bipartisan support.
  I introduced this bill last Congress and reintroduced it this 
Congress with Representative Lee Zeldin because we absolutely must 
ensure that American taxpayer dollars don't incentivize terrorist 
attacks on our own citizens as well as Israelis. This commonsense 
measure now has 170 cosponsors.
  I think most of the American people are aware of Taylor's story by 
now, but it bears repeating again as we prepare to vote on this 
legislation in the people's House.
  Last year, a 28-year-old American student named Taylor Force was 
visiting Israel on a school trip. While walking near the beach in Tel 
Aviv, a 22-year-old Palestinian stabbed him to death in a terrorist 
attack.
  Taylor Force was an Eagle Scout, West Point graduate, and a veteran 
of both Iraq and Afghanistan. He represents everything any parent could 
want their son or daughter to be.
  As we know, Mr. and Mrs. Force lost their treasured son in this 
terror attack. They were left with only photographs and memories.
  The terrorist who murdered Taylor was killed shortly after by the 
police, but the killer's family was left with something else: a 
lucrative financial reward.
  The Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, gives 
financial rewards for terrorist attacks. The more people killed in an 
attack, the higher the financial reward. Families of terrorists receive 
a pension for life, which is triple the average salary in the West 
Bank, as well as a receiving free tuition and health insurance, a 
clothing allowance, and a monthly stipend.
  More money goes to these kinds of payments than go to the entire 
civil service of the Palestinian Authority. This must be stopped.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and 
send as strong and clear a message as possible that the United States 
will not allow our taxpayer dollars to be used to incentivize terrorist 
attacks.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Florida (Mr. Deutch), the ranking member of the Middle East and North 
Africa Subcommittee, and a valued member of the Foreign Affairs 
Committee.
  Mr. DEUTCH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from New York, my 
friend, the ranking member, for yielding.
  I rise in support of H.R. 1164, the Taylor Force Act.
  Mr. Speaker, the pursuit of a negotiated two-state solution to end 
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict requires a commitment to peace, but it 
is impossible for the Palestinian Authority to demonstrate that 
commitment to peace while paying terrorists for attacks on innocent 
civilians. But that is the reality today, and that is what this bill 
seeks to end.
  Under current Palestinian law, the PA pays salaries to terrorists and 
their families more money for worse crimes, typically well exceeding 
the mean salary for Palestinian workers. If a terrorist is sentenced to 
life in prison for a horrific attack that kills Israeli citizens, he 
will get a four-times higher monthly salary than if he had been 
sentenced to only a couple of years in prison for a lesser attack. This 
is blatant incentive to terrorism; the same type of terrorism that we 
have seen tear through buses, shopping malls, nightclubs, and places of 
worship around the world.
  In March of last year, during a surge of deadly stabbings, shootings, 
and car rammings in Israel, we saw the consequences of this incitement 
and incentive to terror.
  Taylor Force, a 28-year-old American tourist, a West Point graduate 
and then-Vanderbilt graduate student, who

[[Page H9651]]

had fought in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was stabbed to death on 
a promenade in Jaffa by a young Palestinian terrorist.
  Taylor, by all accounts, was loved and humble. He enjoyed playing the 
guitar. He was an Eagle Scout and an Army veteran. His father described 
him as an all-American kid who made sure that everyone around him felt 
good. A friend of his in Nashville said simply: He made people better.
  But rather than unambiguously condemn this attack against innocent 
civilians, as any responsible government would do, the PA instead has 
rewarded these types of attacks by paying more than $1 billion to 
convicted terrorists over the past decade.
  It is the job of the Palestinian Authority, like any responsible 
government, to deliver services to its people, including welfare to 
those who need it most, like a grieving widow who suddenly has to take 
care of her family without the breadwinner. But this is not welfare.
  The current law essentially tells Palestinians: If you tragically die 
in a car accident, your family gets nothing; but if you die driving 
your car into a group of Israeli civilians, your family will be taken 
care of for life.
  That is not welfare. That is incentive to terror. It is pay for slay, 
and it must end.
  I am proud of the bipartisan manner in which today's bill was 
crafted, and it is carefully written in a way that targets only those 
funds that directly benefit the Palestinian Authority, thereby creating 
real incentives for the PA to end this practice without damaging the 
vital U.S. investments in humanitarian assistance and grassroots 
people-to-people programs that are essential to achieving our overall 
objective of peace.
  Taylor Force served our country to advance and protect peace. His 
life was taken by terrorists seeking to undermine peace.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 30 seconds to the 
gentleman from Florida.
  Mr. DEUTCH. It is our duty to call on the PA to end this indefensible 
practice of rewarding terror and to demonstrate a real commitment to 
peace, a peace where Israel can live safely and securely as a Jewish 
and democratic state next to a Palestinian state that does not seek its 
destruction.
  Mr. Speaker, this legislation honors Taylor Force's name and memory 
by stopping an abhorrent practice. In his name, and in the name of 
peace, the PA must end these payments to terrorists, and I urge my 
colleagues to support this effort to make them stop.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen), who chairs the Foreign 
Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. She is also 
our chairman emeritus.
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman and my good 
friend, Ranking Member Eliot Engel, for his hard work. I especially 
want to thank the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn) for offering 
this important bill.
  Sadly, as we have heard, Mr. Speaker, Taylor Force is the name and 
the face of the disgusting and reprehensible practice in place by the 
Palestinians that we know as pay to slay.
  Taylor Force, as we have heard, was an Eagle Scout, a West Point 
graduate, a veteran of two wars, who served our Nation bravely and with 
distinction. It was a life cut tragically short at 28 years old, when 
he was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist while in Israel.
  While the world condemned this attack and while Taylor Force's 
friends and family mourn his loss, the Palestinian leaders fail to take 
responsibility. No, instead, Abu Mazen and the Palestinian leadership 
continue to incite violence, continue to support terror. Because, make 
no mistake, Mr. Speaker, as long as the Palestinian Authority or the 
PLO--whatever name they want to use--make payments to terrorists, they 
are supporting terror.
  How can you conclude otherwise?
  It is irresponsible and it is shameful to think that the American 
taxpayer and the U.S. Government are in any way, shape, or form helping 
to support this pay-to-slay program. This is why this act will ensure 
that, until pay to slay is ended, we will not be a willing contributor 
to the Palestinian scheme. This is just another tool that Congress has 
given the administration to use in order to hold the Palestinian 
leaders accountable.
  However, I do believe that we should not allow for exceptions, not 
allow for carve-outs in this important bill, because that flexibility, 
sadly, is sometimes used to circumvent the spirit of the law and the 
congressional intent.
  I would like to remind our body that the administration already has 
the tools it needs to withhold assistance to the Palestinian Authority 
and the West Bank and Gaza, so we must exercise existing authorities 
and send a message to the Palestinians once and for all.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge the administration to use all of the tools at its 
disposal, to not waive provisions of U.S. law, to not selectively 
enforce some laws and apply others. That means ending all assistance to 
the Palestinian Authority--all. It means closing the PLO office in D.C. 
until pay to slay has ended and until the Palestinians stop their 
incitement and stop their support for terror.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support this important and 
tragic measure, and I urge the administration to use these tools that 
we continue to provide to it. I thank the chairman and the ranking 
member for rapidly bringing this important bill to the floor.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I think that points have been made on both sides of the 
aisle with which we all agree. If the Palestinian Authority is serious 
about peace and is serious about a two-state solution and is serious 
about living in peace with Israel, then I think they have to be serious 
about not paying people who murder, not paying people who are 
terrorists, not paying people who randomly go over and stab somebody.
  Taylor Force happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. No 
other reason. That should not be left to stand. I think our colleagues 
have all talked about what a wonderful young man he was, an exemplary 
American, someone who played by the rules, kept his country safe, did 
the right things, respected his own faith. We should respect him and 
all the other people as well.

  Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. 
Gottheimer), my friend on the Financial Services Committee, a rising 
star in Congress.
  Mr. GOTTHEIMER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 
1164, the bipartisan Taylor Force Act. I want to thank Chairman Royce 
and Ranking Member Eliot Engel, who is my friend and colleague and a 
real leader for our party and for this issue, for all of their hard 
work and leadership to bring this legislation to the floor. All of us 
in Congress could learn from and emulate their friendship and 
bipartisan working relationship, especially when it comes to our 
foreign policy and support for our vital ally Israel, and in our fight 
against terror around the world.
  I commend the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Lamborn) for introducing 
this important legislation, and I am proud that Ranking Member Engel 
and I were the very first Democrats in the House to cosponsor this 
measure.
  Mr. Speaker, I serve on the House Financial Services Committee's 
Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, where, day in and day 
out, my colleagues and I track the flow of money to terrorist groups 
like Hamas, Hezbollah, and ISIS through illicit financial networks.
  For years, the Palestinian Authority has shamelessly engaged in an 
equally heinous practice out in the open: the awarding of official 
payments to terrorists it inspires to go out and kill innocent 
civilians, including American citizens like U.S. Army veteran Taylor 
Force.
  Israeli citizens live under the constant threats of stabbings, 
suicide bombings, and vicious terrorist attacks. Palestinian leaders, 
including President Abbas, have not just refused to call for an end to 
these attacks or to speak out against those who promote hate and 
violence, rather, they celebrate, defend, and promote terrorism through 
an elaborate system whereby the Palestinian Authority literally ``pays 
to slay.''

[[Page H9652]]

  


                              {time}  1515

  That is because for decades the PLO and the PA have provided payments 
in some form or another to terrorists and their families, as well as 
various other awards and titles and honorifics, but the practice is 
especially heinous because today it is enshrined into Palestinian law. 
The deadlier attacks of terrorism will be rewarded with even more 
money.
  I know because I have read the laws and seen the accompanying payment 
charts. There is literally a payment schedule based on the severity of 
the terrorist attack, which encourages more severe and gratuitous 
violence and terrorist activity.
  For instance, a terrorist who slayed three people in 2015, including 
an 18-year-old American citizen, Ezra Schwartz, who was spending his 
gap year in Israel and planned to attend business school at Rutgers 
University in New Jersey, would be rewarded by the PA with a monthly 
salary--the terrorist--of more than $3,000.
  In sum, these payments total hundreds of millions of dollars that the 
PA redirects from its own budget to pay off the murderers of Jews, 
Israelis, and foreigners. The Taylor Force Act will eliminate U.S. 
foreign aid to the West Bank and Gaza that directly benefits the 
Palestinian Authority until the Secretary of State can guarantee that 
they have ended these payments. This legislation is carefully targeted 
to achieve maximum leverage over the PA to end the funding of terror.
  Mr. Speaker, this legislation stands in stark contrast to a partisan, 
one-sided, offensive, and harmful bill recently introduced in Congress 
under the guise of promoting human rights that would cut aid to Israel 
for cracking down on terrorism. Israel has the right and obligation to 
defend itself and its civilians who have been the targeted victims of 
brutal attacks and murders while going about their daily lives. The 
United States ought to stand with them by condemning Palestinian 
incitement.
  Members of both parties have been working together to do just that. 
Since fiscal year 2015, Congress has reduced, dollar for dollar, the 
amount of money that the PA and PLO pay to terrorists and their 
families from the Economic Support Fund aid that the U.S. provides. 
While this has resulted in the reduction of our foreign aid, it has not 
yet brought an end to this practice.
  In May, I joined Representatives Claudia Tenney and Tom Suozzi and 33 
of our colleagues who demanded that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson 
address these terror payments directly with Palestinian President Abbas 
during his visit to Washington, D.C.
  It has been suggested that the PA may be more receptive to 
international pressure. I am glad that this bill urges the Secretary of 
State and the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations to 
highlight this issue with the international community to condemn these 
horrific acts of violence. But that is simply not enough.
  The United States must use every tool at our disposal to counter 
violence and terrorism. The PLO and the PA may well continue down the 
path of more hatred, violence, and terror without regard for the damage 
inflicted or for their role in diminishing the prospects for peace. But 
so long as they pay citizens to murder civilians, then they will do so 
without benefiting from the support of the United States taxpayer. 
There is no question that should be asked about that.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in standing in solidarity 
with the families of the victims of terror to bring an end to this 
appalling system of paid violence, and I urge support for this bill.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), chairman of the Foreign Affairs 
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and 
International Organizations.
  Mr. SMITH of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank Chairman Royce 
and Ranking Member Eliot Engel for, again, working so well together to 
bring this legislation to the floor; and Lee Zeldin, one of the 
principal cosponsors of the bill; and Doug Lamborn, of course, the 
prime author of this legislation.
  I, too, am proud to be a cosponsor. This is a very important bill 
that will serve as a measure of justice for the memory of U.S. Army 
Officer Taylor Force and many others who have been victimized over the 
years by Palestinian terrorism subsidized by the Palestinian Authority. 
It is well past time for us to apply real pressure to the Palestinian 
Authority for continuing incitement for anti-Israel, anti-Semitic, and 
anti-American violence. This bill takes aim at the PA's ongoing 
financial incentivizing of murder.
  Mr. Speaker, when you pay someone to kill somebody else and pay their 
family to kill somebody else, that is a crime. So this just ought to be 
seen as a step in trying to say we mean business. Those who authorize 
those payments ought to be held liable for these crimes.
  Although 2 years ago Congress deducted the PA's compensatory payments 
to terrorists and their families from U.S. assistance, there has been 
no change in the PA's twisted and perverted policy. By conditioning 
most U.S. assistance to the PA on its commitment to cease payments to 
terrorists, the Taylor Force Act takes the necessary next and important 
step to guarantee that American taxpayer dollars are not being used to 
reward terrorism.
  Mr. Speaker, the PA cannot be a partner for peace until it stops 
subsidizing terrorism. Amidst increasing talk of a new peace initiative 
in the region, we must be absolutely clear that there could be no true 
peace until Palestinian public policy stops inculcating a culture of 
death in the minds of the people.
  Years of diplomacy, Mr. Speaker, and public pressure aimed at 
stemming Palestinian incitement have not succeeded. Congress must act 
now with the power of the purse.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, it is now my pleasure to yield 2 minutes to 
the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Frankel), my good friend and valued 
member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.
  Ms. FRANKEL of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the 
bipartisan Taylor Force Act, which eliminates United States aid to the 
Palestinians unless they end payments to terrorists. I thank my 
colleagues, the chair, and the ranking member for their leadership.

  Today we are condemning an evil system that rewards terrorists based 
on how many innocent civilians they maim or kill. In recent decades, 
1,600 people have been killed by Palestinian terror attacks, like 17-
year-old Liana Sakiyan, a high-spirited girl, a friend to many. On a 
break from exams, she and her friends were in line for a night of 
celebration at a discotheque in Tel Aviv when a bomb went off, 
instantly snuffing out her life and 20 other innocent young Israelis.
  As a reward for this heinous attack, the suicide bomber's family 
received thousands of dollars from the Palestinian Authority--this 
authority which continues to give hundreds of millions of dollars to 
terrorists and their families, a part of the so-called martyrs' fund. 
This legislation, which correctly exempts humanitarian and democracy-
promoting programs, tells the Palestinian Authority: No more pay to 
slay.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge adoption of this bill.
  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Zeldin), a member of the Committee on 
Foreign Affairs. He is the coauthor of this measure.
  Mr. ZELDIN. Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to serve on the House 
Foreign Affairs Committee under the leadership of Chairman Royce and 
Ranking Member Eliot Engel. I am very grateful that they brought this 
legislation to the House floor for consideration today.
  As a co-chair of the House Republican Israel Caucus, the original 
cosponsor on this piece of legislation, I would strongly encourage all 
of my colleagues to support this important bill.
  I am thinking of values, what drove Taylor Force to sign up for the 
United States Military Academy at West Point, to deploy into combat, to 
protect and defend our freedoms and liberties; willing to lay it all on 
the line; willing to risk everything for our flag, for our 
Constitution, not just for family back home.
  He is joined here--he is certainly with us in spirit--with his 
parents, Stuart and Robbi, who are in the gallery, and they know that 
the legacy of

[[Page H9653]]

Taylor Force's service and sacrifice is one that already is showing a 
change in policy in the interactions between our Nation and those in 
that region. Because as we think of values, the values of the 
Palestinian Authority is one that incites violence, that financially 
rewards terrorism, that treats terrorists like they are heads of state 
at their funerals and calls them martyrs.
  I stand with Taylor Force. The House Foreign Affairs Committee stands 
with Taylor Force. This entire body, hopefully, when this comes to a 
vote, stands with the parents of Taylor Force, and our effective and 
better leveraging of our money because we should not provide $1 of 
United States taxpayer funds if that money is going to go towards not 
only inciting violence, but also financially rewarding terrorism.
  The United States taxpayers not only want to make sure that their 
money isn't going to financially reward Palestinian terrorists when 
they murder innocent Israelis, but this is also about Americans--U.S. 
tax dollars going to an entity that financially rewards terror.
  I was moved greatly as I was listening to Chairman Emeritus Ileana 
Ros-Lehtinen's remarks and the need to use all resources that are 
available to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Nation's greatest ally 
and change behavior of those bad actors. Those are the values, and we 
stand with Taylor Force.
  Mr. ENGEL. Mr. Speaker, if there are no other speakers on this side, 
I am prepared to close. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, let me close by saying that this bipartisan legislation 
seeks to compel the Palestinian Authority to stop incentivizing acts of 
terrorism against innocent victims, including American Taylor Force.
  Now, the encouragement of hooligans and thugs to just randomly try to 
kill people for no other reason than just to try to perpetrate violence 
needs to be stopped. While the Palestinian Authority seems to be 
encouraging knife attacks and terror attacks against Jewish Israelis, 
it is important to say that being in the wrong place at the wrong time 
leaves everybody vulnerable. That is what happened to Taylor Force. He 
wasn't Jewish. He happened to be American, and he happened to be a 
soldier in a war area and a very good, nice, decent human being. He 
didn't deserve it.
  Nobody deserves to be a victim of terror. But certainly, the victims 
of terror, if we are going to cry out to help them, we have got to put 
a stop to this disgusting practice of calling these murderers martyrs. 
They are not martyrs. They are murderers. They have no regard for human 
beings. They have no regard for anything. It is time for us to say: 
Enough is enough.
  In this current bill, it allows the United States to avoid any 
unintended consequences such as the cessation of humanitarian 
assistance, the right thing to do. I hope that the Palestinian 
Authority will use this opportunity to stop these martyr payments, move 
away from incitement, and move toward a two-state solution. Again, this 
bipartisan legislation seeks to compel the Palestinian Authority to 
stop acts of terrorism, to stop aiding and abetting acts of terrorism 
against innocent victims, including American Taylor Force.
  The gentleman from Florida (Mr. Deutch) said that if someone drives 
their car and hits somebody, nothing happens. But if someone drives 
their car and kills somebody, they get a martyr payment. There is 
something perverse about that. There is something just wrong about 
that. And it is something that the United States needs to put its foot 
down and say, once and for all: We will not tolerate violence.
  Finally, let me say that this bill, aptly named as a tribute to 
Taylor Force, to his parents whom I had the pleasure of meeting, and to 
all of the people who knew him--he really was the driving force behind 
this legislation. Because when we heard what had happened, it was so 
abhorrent, it was so disgusting, that we felt we needed to get together 
and do something.
  So I want to thank the Force family. I want to thank my colleagues on 
the other side of the aisle, especially Chairman Royce. This is 
something that every Member of Congress and both sides of the aisle 
should vote for.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1530

  Mr. ROYCE of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I 
may consume.
  In closing, Mr. Speaker, let me thank my friend and colleague, Eliot 
Engel, for his eloquence in explaining the enormity of the tragedy here 
and the meaning of this terrorism. I think Mr. Engel has been such a 
diligent partner in not only helping us move this bill through, but 
helping us run the committee in a bipartisan way. I want to thank him 
at this moment as we pass this act for all of his work on this issue 
through the legislation and through the hearings. I think it has had an 
impact in the understanding of the Members here.
  I also want to recognize and thank our former colleague, Senator 
Lindsey Graham. I have talked with him about this issue. He originated 
this bill in the Senate. I know also how passionately he feels about 
this, as do Eliot and myself. I look forward to working with our Senate 
colleagues to ensure that the bill that we pass here in the House or 
the Senate bill, either one, the bottom line is that the Taylor Force 
Act must become law quickly. That is our objective.
  The purpose of our aid, as we understand it, is to advance U.S. 
interests around the world. That is why we give aid. I think all of us 
can agree that that does not include paying people to commit crimes of 
terrorism. The Palestinian Authority is flatout undermining U.S. 
interests by compensating and incentivizing violence, as articulated by 
my friend, Mr. Engel.
  I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this bill, which ensures 
that there are consequences for this disgraceful policy and ensures 
that the U.S. plays no part, even indirectly, in participating in this 
behavior. The PA giving compensation for violence is beyond the pale. 
It is long past time that we treat it that way.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Rothfus). The question is on the motion 
offered by the gentleman from California (Mr. Royce) that the House 
suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 1164, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

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