Stuart and Robbi Force had a long day sitting in the gallery of the House of Representatives, waiting for a vote on the piece of legislation named after their son, Taylor.
“It was pretty emotional to be reminded,” Stuart Force said, as legislator after legislator praised their son. “Each time they did that, it just hit us.”
When the House unanimously voted in favor of the Taylor Force Act, it was hard to “keep decorum” and not to cheer. Force admitted to a couple of “fist pumps” and hugs.
He said it has been a long year and a half.
“Every parents has their stories about their children, and this is ours.”
Taylor was an eagle scout, a veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a graduate student studying in Israel, when he was killed at just 28 years old. Before then the Forces had never heard of “martyr payments” made by the Palestinian Authority to terrorists, for acts committed on Israeli soil.
Since then they’ve been fighting for an act that would cut off U.S. funding to the Palestinian. Authority, until it ends these payments to terrorists and their families.
Palestinians and supporters of this policy say it is payment for martyrs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
House Speaker Paul Ryan released this statement, “This bill is pretty simple: If you finance or reward terrorism, you don’t deserve a penny from the United States. The Palestinian Authority should be forced to choose between its despicable practice of paying terrorists’ salaries and receiving foreign aid funded by the American taxpayer. And until that time comes, no government that supports the murder of innocent civilians can claim to be a serious partner for peace.”
Congressman Jodey Arrington of District 19 released this statement, “For too long, the Palestinian Authority – supported with U.S. taxpayer money – has taken part in this despicable practice. However, with the passage of our legislation, today marks the beginning of its end. It’s illogical and immoral to give foreign aid to countries who support terrorism. America should lead by example. Sending this legislation to the President’s desk will honor Taylor’s memory and hold those who support terrorism accountable.”
The bill is now headed to the Senate, and if it passes, the U.S. will stop sending aid until the U.S. can confirm the Palestinian Authority has stopped paying the relatives of Palestinians killed in attacks or imprisoned in jails in Israel.
Stuart Force said he hopes his son’s story will humanize this piece of legislation.
“This is not just something on a piece of paper. You are talking about real lives that are being impacted,” Force said. “That’s what parents do for their children. It helps us honor our son. We’re doing this so that other families are not faced with this tragedy.”
He told EverythingLubbock.com he’s met a lot of legislators on both sides of the aisle, and is grateful to many of them, including Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado and Congressman Lee Zeldin of New York. The list doesn’t stop there.
But one conversation with Senator Lindsey Graham stands out. Stuart was telling the Senator sometimes he forgets his son is not just fighting overseas, and remembers Taylor isn’t going to come home.
“He goes, Stuart…Robbi… Taylor is home. You are in deployment, and you’ll be going home soon. And that sort of put things in perspective for us. Whatever your beliefs are, whatever you faith whatever you religion, everybody at some point goes home.”