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Sens. Cruz, Cotton Sponsor New Taylor Force Act to Target Palestinian 'Pay for Slay' Terror Payouts

Taylor Force.

U.S. Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), along with 11 of their fellow senators, have introduced the Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act, legislation aimed at eliminating Palestinian "martyr payments." 

The proposed measure would deter foreign banks from making these payments by undermining their access to the United States financial system.

"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 explained. 
"When President Trump signed the Taylor Force Act into law, he sent the clear message that the United States will not fund a Palestinian leadership that supports acts of terrorism against both American and Israeli citizens," Cruz said. "Under the Biden administration, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is circumventing American anti-terrorism regulations to continue these payments."

"The Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act rightfully strengthens the Treasury Department's ability to hold foreign banks accountable for processing these heinous 'pay-for-slay' payments on behalf of terrorist groups," the Texas senator continued. "I am proud to join Sen. Cotton on this bill to help cut off terror financing." 

As CBN News has reported, the original "Taylor Force Act" was named in memory of U.S. Army veteran Taylor Force, who was stabbed to death by an Arab terrorist during a visit to Israel in March 2016. In March of 2018, the Senate approved the Taylor Force Act. The House had passed the bill unanimously the prior December. 

The measure was signed into law by President Trump on March 23, 2018, cutting about a third of U.S. foreign aid payments to the P.A. 

The 21-year-old terrorist behind the brutal stabbing of Force was killed by police, but he was praised by the Palestinian Authority government and his family received lifelong financial compensation. About two months after the brutal stabbing, the Force family found out their son's murderer was financially rewarded, and there were even videos of his heinous act being celebrated in Palestinian areas. 

"We sort of blocked that out. It was so horrendous that we chose not to go there," Stuart Force told CBN News when learning of the videos. "We couldn't really process that, we still probably can't."

Middle East Banks Continue to Process 'Pay for Slay' Payments

Recent reporting reveals that Palestinian banks and other banks in the Middle East are still knowingly processing these "martyr payments", sometimes in U.S. dollar-denominated transactions. These banks flout U.S. anti-terrorism financial regulations but escape sanctions by avoiding an official U.S. presence while maintaining correspondent accounts in the United States. This offers a lifeline to the P.A. "pay for slay" program.

The Taylor Force Martyr Payment Prevention Act would:

  • Strengthen the Treasury Department's existing anti-terrorism financing authorities by giving Treasury the additional authority to designate foreign banks as institutions of primary money laundering concern and to forbid them from holding or using correspondent accounts in the United States if:
  • The banks are used to facilitate or promote martyr payments to terrorists.
  • The banks knowingly provide financial services to Hamas.
  • Establish the sense of Congress urging Treasury to find foreign financial institutions that flout anti-terrorism financial regulations to be of primary money laundering concern and to prohibit them from holding or using correspondent accounts in the United States.

Cosponsors of the bill include Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), Todd Young (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Braun (R-IN), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

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