Washington, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement on H.R. 2740, the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA) Expansion and Enforcement Act. This bill, which would hold private contractors in war zones accountable for any criminal behavior, was approved in the House by a vote of 389 to 30:

    “Private contractors working for the United States in war zones should understand that we will not tolerate serious misconduct or criminal behavior.  This is why it is so important for Congress to close loopholes that may allow private contractors to escape responsibility for illegal activity overseas.   

    “I commend Congressman David Price for sponsoring this legislation to ensure accountability for contractor personnel in cases of serious misconduct or criminal behavior.  This legislation complements the contractor provisions which were included in the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization bill, and on which Congressman Price also worked extensively.  We must establish a workable system for contractor accountability during contingency operations, and the House Armed Services Committee will work with the Administration and with Congressman Price to achieve that goal.”