McCain was critical of a plan to reduce troop levels
AYNOR, South Carolina (CNN) - Sen. John McCain, in the midst of a campaign swing through the Palmetto State on his "No Surrender Tour," told CNN Saturday that a plan gaining popularity among Senate Democrats to reduce troop levels in Iraq is "unconstitutional."
The proposal, originally crafted by Sen. Jim Webb, would mandate a certain period of troop rest between deployments, necessitating a reduction of forces in Iraq.
McCain, having just offered a vigorous defense of the war at a speech at Roger's Bar-B-Q House in Florence, South Carolina said that Congress has no business mandating the length of tours by servicemen.
"Where in the Constitution of the United States does it say that the Congress decides how long people will spend on tours of duty and how long they will spend back in the United States? It's blatantly unconstitutional," McCain said. "The Constitution of the United States said Congress will declare wars and fund wars."
The Senate takes up debate on the defense authorization bill Monday, and Webb's amendment would need 60 votes to avoid a Republican filibuster. Last time it came up for a vote in July, it received only 56 votes, though Democratic sources told CNN this week that they are closer to 60 votes this time around.
"Is this all about helping the men and women in the military having a lighter burden, or is this another way of achieving a goal that they can't get, a straight up or down vote on withdrawal?," McCain asked.
- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby