On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Taylor Force Act, which would cut U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA) if the PA does not halt payments to convicted terrorists and their families.
The bill is named after Taylor Force, an American and Vanderbilt graduate student and Army veteran killed March 9, 2016, in a terror attack in Jaffa.
Taylor Force Act Summary At Congress.gov:
This bill prohibits certain assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 from being made available for the West Bank and Gaza unless the Department of State certifies that the Palestinian Authority:
- is taking steps to end acts of violence against U.S. and Israeli citizens perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the March 2016 attack that killed former Army officer Taylor Force;
- is publicly condemning such acts of violence and is investigating, or cooperating in investigations of, such acts; and
- has terminated payments for acts of terrorism against U.S. and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been convicted and imprisoned for such acts, to any individual who died committing such acts, and to family members of such an individual.Con
Last month, the measure unanimously advanced out of committee, including three exceptions: allowing for US funding to Palestinian water and childhood vaccination programs, as well as East Jerusalem hospitals.
The bill must now pass the full Senate, which is expected to vote on it this month, when the upper chamber votes on a foreign operations bill it was packaged into last September. It is expected to pass. TimesOfTsrael
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) statement after House passage of H.R. 1164, the Taylor Force Act:
“This bill is pretty simple: If you finance or reward terrorism, you don’t deserve a penny from the United States. The Palestinian Authority should be forced to choose between its despicable practice of paying terrorists’ salaries and receiving foreign aid funded by the American taxpayer. And until that time comes, no government that supports the murder of innocent civilians can claim to be a serious partner for peace. I appreciate Chairman Royce, Congressman Lamborn, and all members on both sides of the aisle for their bipartisan efforts on this issue. In Taylor’s memory, I look forward to the Senate passing this legislation so we can send it to the president’s desk.”
In terms of faith, the U.S. is becoming more diverse, but its legislature is not.
It is still very important to American voters that political candidates have a very clear, declared, and understandable religious faith.
In the current session of Congress, 291 of the 293 Republicans identify as Christians. (The two others are Jewish.) Democrats are significantly more diverse: While 80 percent identify as Christian, others are Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim. Representative Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, the only member of Congress to declare herself to be religiously unaffiliated, is also a Democrat. NYTimes
The share of U.S. adults who describe themselves as Christians has been declining for decades, but the U.S. Congress is about as Christian today as it was in the early 1960s, according to a new analysis by Pew Research Center. Indeed, among members of the new, 115th Congress, 91% describe themselves as Christians. This is nearly the same percentage as in the 87th Congress (1961 to 1962, the earliest years for which comparable data are available), when 95% of members were Christian. Pew