President Obama has run out of "excuses" for delaying a decision on whether to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, House Minority Leader John Boehner said Monday after Afghan President Hamid Karzai was declared the winner of his nation's presidential election by default.
Obama administration officials had suggested that a decision on American troop levels should be withheld until Afghanistan's runoff election was over. But now that Karzai's challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, has dropped out of the race and handed the election over to Karzai for another five-year term, lawmakers are urging the U.S. president to finalize his overhaul of America's war strategy.
"Now that it is clear that President Karzai will remain in office, the White House has no further pretext for delaying the decision on giving General McChrystal the resources he needs to achieve our goals in Afghanistan," Boehner said in a statement Monday. "There are no more excuses."
Though a fizzled runoff in Afghanistan was not the outcome the White House wanted, administration officials held to their slow-and-steady approach to reviewing war policy when questioned about Abdullah's exit on Sunday. Senior Adviser David Axelrod said Obama would make a decision "within weeks," and White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday that a strategy decision will be made in the "coming weeks."
Advisers said the review would not be altered by the latest twist in Afghanistan's election process, which has been marred by widespread allegations of fraud since the first election in August.
But even some Democratic lawmakers said Monday it's time to bring the decision-making to a close.
Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa., who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, applauded Obama for taking a deliberative approach to the strategy review, but he said it's time for the president to wrap up the process.
Sestak told FoxNews.com the collapse of the runoff only demonstrated how wrong-headed it was for anyone to tie the strategy to the credibility of the central government in Kabul. He said the administration may have put itself in a bit of a bind by making the connection and could have a harder time selling to the public any increase in U.S. troops.
"How credible is the partner who is now the de facto winner? And we know. He is not credible," Sestak said. "They placed themselves in a slight dilemma here."
Obama has run up against prominent members of his party who are calling for a de-escalation of the war in Afghanistan and would surely balk at providing more troops following a muddled national election.
But Sestak said he hopes the administration ultimately develops a plan that provides a "measure increased" in troops, though not the full 40,000 Gen. Stanley McChrystal is looking for, and a sustained focus on taking out Al Qaeda in Pakistan.
Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement that despite the uncertainty and flaws of the Afghan election, "We now have an outcome and can begin to move forward."
"I continue to believe that General McChrystal's counterinsurgency plan is the right approach," he said. "The recent flawed election process has reinforced the need to also push for the reform of the national Afghan government, to increase legitimacy and help build a capable partner for our efforts in Afghanistan."
Axelrod spoke on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
FoxNews.com's Judson Berger contributed to this report.