Critical Pro-Israel Provisions
Contained in Omnibus Bill
Legislation Includes Taylor Force Act
AIPAC applauds Congress for including key provisions to help Israel address critical security challenges in the Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The bill provides $3.1 billion in overall security assistance to Israel. The bill also includes the Taylor Force Act—bipartisan legislation that would eliminate funding that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it continues its abhorrent practice of paying salaries to terrorists or their families.
For many years, AIPAC has worked to end this PA practice that incentivizes terrorism and sets back the pursuit of peace. Current law requires a reduction of U.S. assistance by an amount equivalent to that paid by the PA, the Palestine Liberation Organization or any affiliated organization to individuals—or the families of those individuals—who have committed acts of terrorism. However, this reprehensible practice continues, necessitating the increased pressure provided by the Taylor Force Act.
The spending bill also contains a total of $705.8 million for U.S.-Israel missile defense cooperation, representing $105 million more than last year’s adopted funding level. These funds would support both research and development for and procurement of the Iron Dome, David’s Sling, Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 cooperative missile defense systems—key programs that help Israel defend its citizens against rockets and missiles and also advance America’s own missile defense capabilities.
In addition, this legislation also contains a total of $47.5 million for critical U.S.-Israel anti-tunnel cooperation. The bill includes an appropriation for the establishment of a U.S.-Israel Center of Excellence in energy and water technologies—the first new appropriation in a decade for a U.S.-Israel non-defense program. It also fully funds the U.S.-Israel BIRD-Energy program and enables it, for the first time, to fund natural gas projects.
In adopting this legislation, AIPAC appreciates the leadership of many members of Congress who had a hand in different parts of the bill, including: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY), Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker (R-TN) and Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-NY), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO).