The nearly 6,000-page COVID-19 relief bill set to be voted on late Monday sets aside $250 million in investment aid for the Palestinians and for encouraging Israeli-Palestinian dialogue in a provision called the “Nita M. Lowey Middle East Partnership for Peace Act of 2020,” the Breitbart reports.
The Lowey Act, named for retiring Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), would spend $50 million per year for the next five years, due to economic stagnation in the Palestinian Territories and the likelihood for economic development in the region to help promote peace.
Back in July, a version of the act was passed the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, the Times of Israel reported at the time.
Under the Taylor Force Act of 2018, Congress limited U.S. financial aid to the Palestinian Authority, barring American taxpayer money from being sent to the Palestinian government as long as the entity continues to give money to terrorists and their families.
The Lowey Act would launch the “People-to-People Partnership for Peace Fund,” which would be run by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to “provide funding for projects to help build the foundation for peaceful co-existence between Israelis and Palestinians and for a sustainable two-state solution.”
Moreover, the fund would have an advisory board of 13 members, alongside two members “who are representatives of foreign governments or international organizations for renewable periods of 3 years.”
The act would also support initiatives that promote dialogue between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel and would found the “Joint Investment for Peace Initiative,” which would offer investment funding for “projects that contribute to the development of the Palestinian private sector economy in the West Bank and Gaza.”
It should also be mentioned that the provision would ban the funding from being used to aid any foreign government, including the Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). It also bans funds from being provided to any group considered to be involved in, or promoting, terrorism.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Historic House Vote Expels Rep. George Santos Amidst Scandal
In a turn of events, the House of Representatives made history on Friday with a vote to expel Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), marking the first such expulsion in over two decades. A moment fraught with gravity unfolded as Speaker Mike Johnson wielded his gavel to formalize Santos’ removal, setting a precedent in congressional annals.
Santos, indicted on 23 counts related to wire fraud, identity theft, and other charges, has not faced conviction but stands accused of misusing campaign funds for opulent purchases. The bipartisan vote, tallying 311 to 114, signaled robust support for expulsion, with a marginally higher number of Republicans opting to retain Santos.
Questions loomed as Speaker Johnson left the chamber, his silence leaving the fate of the ongoing government spending battle uncertain. According to reports from Fox News, Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer emphasized the non-partisan nature of the decision, asserting that members concluded Santos had tarnished the House’s reputation and was unfit for representation.
Within the GOP, conflicting opinions emerged, with Rep. Darrell Issa arguing against expulsion, citing the presumption of innocence. The tight-lipped stance of the House Ethics Committee played a pivotal role in the deliberations.
Conversely, members of the New York Republican delegation, led by Rep. Marc Molinaro, asserted Santos’ commission of crimes, justifying expulsion based on a comprehensive investigation.
Santos himself predicted the outcome in an exclusive morning interview on “FOX & Friends.” This vote not only underlines the House’s rare use of expulsion powers but also sets a critical precedent in handling members facing severe legal challenges.
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