A new U.S. report card released on Iraq says the country's government is making progress.
Iraq received a "satisfactory" rating on 15 out of 18 benchmarks, nearly double what it received this time last year.
Among those passed were reducing the level of sectarian violence in Iraq and enacting and implementing legislation addressing amnesty.
Only two of the benchmarks from the May 2008 report got an "unsatisfactory" grade. Those were enacting and implementing laws to disarm militias and distribute oil revenues.
Despite the positive assessment, however, the pace of progress in Iraq still remains slow overall.
Democrats say that's because the Bush administration waited too late to begin pulling troops out.
"We've tried repeatedly to get the administration to shift responsibility to the Iraqi leaders for their own future, since there is broad consensus that there is no military solution and only a political settlement among the Iraqis can end the conflict," said Sen. Carl Levin, Democratic chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Iraq's political and military progress is important to U.S. interests, and remains a key factor in whether troops stay in the country or come home.
The decision on how soon U.S. soldiers start leaving Iraq will be made by the next president.
Source: Associated Press