Posted by Ryan Suto on January 08, 2018 in Blog

With congress reconvening this week, we will be watching a few bills which might resurface in the new session. While there are always many concerning bills introduced each Congress, most linger without significant support. As such, the below is an abbreviated list of the bills we would highlight that have not yet been enacted, but may find new life in 2018 as Congress looks toward midterm elections later this year.

S.1697 / H.R.1164 - Taylor Force Act. This bill calls for cutting US funding for the Palestinian Authority (PA) for what is misleadingly described as the PA’s policy of “rewards for terrorism”. For more, see our discussion of the myths beyond this legislation. The Senate placed the bill on the calendar in November, and it passed the House on December 15. This bill is alive and could be voted on soon, so we will be keeping our eyes peeled in 2018.

S.720 / H.R.1697 - Israel Anti-Boycott Act. This bill would prohibit U.S. persons from participating in non-violent boycott, divestment or sanctions efforts. For a comprehensive read of why this is a bad bill, read Foundation for Middle East Peace’s Lara Friedman: The Israel Anti-Boycott Act Is an Act of Political Persecution. In short, the bill threatens legitimate political speech of U.S. citizens. The bill has not moved in either chamber since it was introduced in the Senate and referred to House Financial Services, both in March. 

S.170 / H.R.2856 - Combating BDS Act of 2017. This allows state and local governments to boycott entities that participate in the non-violent boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (BDS). Irreverence is appropriate here in noting that this bill endeavors to boycott those who boycott because it’s supporters oppose boycotting. Nonetheless, like the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, this bill would be a serious infringement of free speech. The Combating BDS Act has not moved in either chamber since June when it was introduced in the House.

S.1060 / H.R.2390 - PLO Accountability Act of 2017. This bill would authorize the President to waive for up to six months the prohibition against establishment or maintenance of Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) offices, headquarters, premises, or other facilities within U.S. jurisdiction. If enacted, this bill would further threaten diplomatic relations with Palestinian authorities, and would offer further proof to the Arab world that the U.S. no longer intends to even attempt to be a fair mediator of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Luckily, the bill has not moved in either chamber since May when it was referred to the House Subcommittee on Middle East and North Africa.

S.107 / H.R.769 - Safeguard Israel Act of 2017. This bill would prohibit the U.S. government from making any UN contributions until Security Council Resolution 2334. The Resolution declared Israeli settlements illegal, a resolution the U.S. chose not to veto under the Obama Administration. This bill has not moved in either chamber since January.

Check back here regularly for updates on these and other developments throughout the rest of the current Congressional session.