WASHINGTON – Following the barbaric Hamas attack on Israel, U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) joined Sen. James Risch (R-ID) in cosponsoring the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) Accountability and Transparency Act.
“President Trump defunded UNRWA because of its ties to antisemites and terrorists,” said Senator Tuberville. “Joe Biden came in and cut UNRWA a big check for nearly a billion dollars. The contrast couldn’t be clearer. Now our closest ally, Israel, is under attack by Hamas terrorists. It’s time we do what President Trump did and restrict the flow of American tax dollars to UNRWA.”
This legislation outlines a comprehensive approach to cease U.S. contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, a successor entity, or to the U.N. regular budget for the support of UNRWA unless the Secretary of State certifies every 180 days to Congress that UNRWA meets strict accountability and transparency criteria.
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Rick Scott (R-FL), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tim Scott (R-SC), John Thune (R-SD), Mike Lee (R-UT), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Ted Budd (R-NC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Roger Wicker (R-MS), J.D. Vance (R-OH), Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Braun (R-IN), and John Hoeven (R-ND) have also cosponsored the bill.
The full text of the bill can be found here.
The UNRWA has a history of employing individuals affiliated with Hamas, an Iranian-backed, U.S.- designated terrorist organization. Additionally, UNRWA schools have been used to store Hamas weapons and promote anti-Semitic education in their textbooks.
The Trump Administration stopped funding UNRWA in 2018. The Biden Administration restarted funding and has thus far provided more than $682 million to UNRWA without securing any reforms.
The UNRWA Accountability and Transparency Act would:
– Ensure that UNRWA refugees are true refugees and do not have citizenship in other countries.
– Require that the U.S. withholds UNRWA contributions unless the Secretary of State certifies every 180 days that the following conditions are met:
- No UNRWA employee, consultant, contractor, etc. has
- ties to a foreign terrorist organization, including Hamas
- engaged in terrorist activity
- propagated or disseminated anti-American, anti-Israel or anti-Semitic material
- express support for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS)
- No UNRWA facility has been used by a foreign terrorist organization or as a tunnel for terrorist activities
- UNRWA is subject to a comprehensive audit by an independent third party agreed to by the PA and Israel
- No UNRWA facility uses textbooks or other educational material that is anti-American, anti-Israel or anti-Semitic
- No recipient of UNRWA funds or loans is a member of a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) or engaged in terrorist activities
- UNRWA holds no accounts or other affiliation with financial institutions that the US considers to be complicit in money laundering or terrorist financing
– Does not allow the US to contribute more money to UNRWA than the highest amount contributed by a member of the League of Arab States or more than the proportion that the US contributes to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
– Requires a report by the Secretary of State on progress made.
Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.