Washington, DC – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) released the following statement in response to GOP criticism of efforts to standardize the grammar and use of terms in the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act:

“Each year, the members and staff of the House Armed Services Committee work to prepare the best possible defense authorization bill.  When writing legislation, the words we choose are important, and we make every effort to be as precise and specific as possible so that Congressional intent may be understood.    

"GOP objections to our efforts to clarify legislative language represent the typical Republican leadership attempt to tie together the misadventure in Iraq and the overall war against terrorists.  The Iraq War is separate and distinct from the war against terrorists, who have their genesis in Afghanistan and who attacked us on 9/11, and the American people understand this. 

"Providing our service members with the tools they need to protect the American people is a very serious responsibility.  I’m saddened that some of our GOP colleagues have chosen to create this distraction, which is a tempest in a teapot as far as I’m concerned."