Officials said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (news, bio, voting record) and other members of the leadership had decided to strip from a major military spending bill a requirement for Bush to gain approval from Congress before moving against Iran.
Conservative Democrats as well as lawmakers concerned about the possible impact on Israel had argued for the change in strategy.
The developments occurred as Democrats pointed toward an initial test vote in the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday on the overall bill, which would require the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by Sept. 1, 2008, if not earlier. The measure provides nearly 0 billion to pay for fighting in two wars, and includes more money than the president requested for operations in Afghanistan and what Democrats called training and equipment shortages.
The White House has issued a veto threat against the bill, and Vice President Dick Cheney attacked its supporters in a speech, declaring they "are telling the enemy simply to watch the clock and wait us out."