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It also requires Miss Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to report to Congress on any progress made in capturing bin Laden.

Miss Rice said that improved international surveillance networks, as well as strong cooperation from the Pakistani government and military, are putting increased pressure on al Qaeda.

“We obviously have ways to track and surveil terrorists that we did not have prior to September 11th,” she said. “I think we have better cooperation between domestic agencies and foreign agencies. But yes, it’s a time when we have to be exceedingly vigilant.”

Congress this week introduced several proposals seeking to alter the Bush administration’s handling of the war in Iraq.

On Thursday the House passed a bill to withdraw most troops from Iraq in April by a vote of 223-201. The measure fell well shy of the votes needed to override a promised veto and picked up only two new Republicans in the three months since a similar vote. Republicans voted 191-4 against it.

Ten Democrats voted against it, four fewer than in March.

A day earlier, a measure in the Senate to set a minimum length for rest time for troops between deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan garnered a 56-41 majority, four votes shy of the needed 60.

Another key vote expected next week is a proposal in the Senate to withdraw the majority of troops from Iraq by April 30, 2008.

c This article was based in part on wire service reports.