As Democratic leaders prepare a response to President George W. Bush's expected veto of a war-funding measure, leaders from both parties are looking ahead to September. That's when they expect they will face their next major decision on the war, the newspaper said.
Bush has asked the U.S. commander in Iraq, Army Gen. David Petraeus, to report to the nation in September on the progress of the troop buildup the president ordered earlier this year.
The buildup will have been under way for more than six months by then.
If there is no dramatic improvement in Iraq, the Times said, it is likely public support for the war will have eroded further -- and members of Congress will be four months further along in their re-election campaigns.
"We need to get some better results from Iraq both politically, economically and militarily," said House Minority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., "and that needs to happen in the foreseeable future."
Several moderate Republicans have warned they are preparing to change positions on the war unless the troop surge shows results, the Times reported.