President Bush sternly called on Democrats to approve money to fund the Iraq war "without strings and without delay" before leaving town for the Christmas holidays, something congressional leaders have already indicated they will not do.

After more failed attempts to pass legislation ordering troops home from Iraq, Democrats have said they plan to sit on Bush's $196 billion request for war spending until next year.

Bush said this will push the Pentagon toward an accounting nightmare and affect the military's ability to do its job protecting the country.

"The American people expect us to work together to support our troops. That's what they want," he said, after spending several hours meeting at the Pentagon with military leaders. "They do not want the government to create needless uncertainty for those defending our country and uncertainty for their families. They do not want disputes in Washington to undermine our troops in Iraq just as they're seeing clear signs of success."