WASHINGTON , DC – Today Representative Ike Skelton (D-MO), Ranking Member on the House Armed Services Committee, made the following statement in response to the announcement of an agreement between the White House and Congressional Republicans over legislation to try alleged terrorists in military commissions.

“I am pleased that my Republican colleagues have finally reached a deal that will allow legislation to try alleged terrorists to move forward.  We need a tough system that will allow for the swift conviction of those who would harm this nation and its citizens. 

“The bill offered by Senators John McCain, John Warner, and Lindsey Graham in the Senate, a version of which I offered here in our committee, would have done just that and would have withstood scrutiny by the Supreme Court.  I will need to look at the final bill carefully, but elements of the compromise I have seen are promising. 

“By ensuring that the accused has access to the evidence against him, the compromise language will both protect classified information and help ensure that no conviction is overturned by the courts.  The best way to protect our national security is to create commissions that can produce fair and effective convictions quickly.”