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Senate Democrats Edge Closer To Cutting Aid To Palestinian Authority

WASHINGTON (JTA) — Top Senate Democrats said they were closer to signing on to a Republican-backed bill that would slash aid to the Palestinian Authority if it did not stop subsidizing Palestinians jailed for attacks on Israel.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer told attendants at the Orthodox Union’s annual Washington action day on Thursday that he would support the Taylor Force Act or legislation similar to it if the Trump administration is unable to get the Palestinian Authority to stop the payments.

“Abbas has to stop making payments to terrorists and their families, and all elected officials should call them out,” Schumer said.

Also edging closer to endorsing the legislation was Sen. Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“We’re going to find a way to pass the Taylor Force Act,” Cardin said, suggesting that he wanted changes to the bill before he could fully endorse it. The measure was named for the American killed in a 2016 stabbing attack in Tel Aviv.

The United States now gives the Palestinian Authority about $500 million in annual aid. The bill, which was introduced by Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham, would only leave the portion for security assistance — about $60 million in 2013. Cruz also attended the Orthodox Union event.

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