Sen. Jon Tester says the Obama administration needs to stick with a scheduled withdrawal of the 45,000-strong force by December.

The Montana Democrat's comments come amid reports that the administration is looking at a proposal to leave up to 5,000 U.S. troops in Iraq next year to train Iraqi forces. No formal proposal on the matter has yet been made to Congress.

Tester said in a speech delivered on the floor of the U.S. Senate that the administration needs to abandon any plan to keep a sizeable force in place after the end of the year.

Tester's Republican challenger, Congressman Denny Rehberg, said that he is willing to leave strategy decisions to the Pentagon.

He says he's "always a little wary" of politicians who second-guess commanders on the ground.

Associated Press