Battle over Iraq continues in Washington, D.C.

by Brooke Hart
NBC News

Senior Senate Republicans John Warner and Richard Lugar, this week, challenging the White House to draft a new war plan now.

"We're trying to force the President to change his strategy now," said Senator John Warner, (R) Virginia.

"We don't have to wait until the 15th of September and General Petraeus' report," said Indiana Senator, Richard Lugar, (R).

It's mounting GOP pressure on President Bush for change, but administration officials say flatly, no.

"They've done a useful service in indicating the kinds of things that we should be thinking about.  But the time to begin that process is September," said National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.

September is when General David Petraeus reports to Congress on whether surged U.S. troops
have brought less violence and more political progress from Iraq's leaders.

This weekend, Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said Iraqi forces are capable and U.S. troops could leave anytime.

Bush allies want strategy, and any exit plan, set by commanders.

"(and) those who wanna withdraw or have operational control reside in the Senate I think are making a mistake for the ages...I will not vote for anything until Gen. Petraeus passes on it," said Senator Lindsey Graham, (R) South Carolina.

Senate Democrats don't want to wait.

"The bottom line here is whether you wanna stay for ten years or whether you wanna stay for six months (Lindsey interrupts and he says "excuse me friend") -- we need to find a formula that takes care of the well-being of our soldiers and our Marines," said Virginia Senator Jim Webb, (D).

For critics that means a sped-up U.S. exit from Iraq.