Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement regarding H.R. 2956, the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act, which was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 223 to 201: "Today’s vote begins a long overdue change, signaling the start of a responsible redeployment out of Iraq.

    "While U.S. service members do their duty and perform magnificently, current military commitments have placed an enormous strain on our men and women in uniform and their families. Responsible redeployment will allow us to focus and limit our efforts to military missions such as counter-terrorism, training Iraqi security forces, and protecting American personnel at the U.S. Embassy. Redeployment will also allow the United States to focus more of our attention on the real war on terror, as well as to restore the military readiness that has been eroded by the conflict in Iraq.

     "Readiness is the insurance policy that allows us to respond when there are threats to the American people and to U.S. national security. We cannot predict with certainty where the next threat will emerge, but history has demonstrated that we cannot afford to be unprepared. Beginning the responsible redeployment from Iraq will allow us to restore U.S. military readiness and minimize the strategic risk imposed by open-ended military commitments."