U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., doubled down on his opposition to taxpayer funds going to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday, urging the U.S. State Department to cut off all support.
Buchanan wrote acting U.S. Sec. of State John Sullivan on the matter on Wednesday, noting that the Palestinian Authority was still financially backing terrorists.
“It is abundantly clear that despite recent congressional action, the PA and President Mahmoud Abbas have no intention of halting the despicable practice of rewarding acts of terrorism. The Palestinian Authority does not deserve a dime from American taxpayers,” Buchanan wrote Sullivan. “The Palestinian Authority just increased its bonus payments to terrorists who kill Americans and Israelis. If we continue to provide financial aid we are directly contributing to the murder of innocent people. This absurd and outrageous policy must end.”
Buchanan insisted the “Taylor Force Act,” which he cosponsored, does not go far enough.
With strong support from the Florida delegation, back in December, the U.S. House passed U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn’s, R-Col., “Taylor Force Act” which cuts off American funding to the Palestinian Authority if it continues to financially support terrorists and their families. The House passed the bill, which was named after an American Air Force veteran killed by a Palestinian terrorist, on voice vote. The Palestinian Authority has been financially helping the family of Force’s killer.
Most members of the Florida delegation cosponsored the bill including U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who chairs the U.S. House Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., the ranking Democrat on that subcommittee. U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., was an early cosponsor of the bill. Other members of the Florida delegation cosponsoring the bill included Buchanan, Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Carlos Curbelo, Ron DeSantis, Neal Dunn, Matt Gaetz, Brian Mast, Francis Rooney, Dennis Ross, Dan Webster and Ted Yoho and Democrats U.S. Reps. Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
On Wednesday, Buchanan urged the State Department to cut off all aid to the Palestinian Authority which currently runs to around $500 million annually including around $100 million in security assistance. Buchanan pointed to comments from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made last summer in which he said his regime would continue to financially support terrorists with some reports showing the Palestinian Authority spent $315 million--almost 8 percent of its budget--to the families of dead terrorists and prisoners.
“Recent evidence and the PA’s troubling track record should serve as more than enough justification to terminate financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority,” Buchanan wrote Sullivan. “American tax dollars should never be used to reward terrorism.”