Ten weeks into the Baghdad crackdown, seen as a last effort to avert Iraq from sliding into civil war, there are few signs parliament will pass the laws before it recesses in July.
But Iraqi politicians complain that U.S. domestic politics are dictating Iraq's political progress and said many of the laws that Washington wants to see sail through parliament face deep mistrust among Shi'ites, Sunni Arabs and ethnic Kurds.
"If a law is not acceptable to our constituents there may be a backlash. We have to do what we want, not what Washington wants," said Haider Ibadi, a lawmaker from Maliki's Dawa party.
Ibadi cited as an example a plan to allow thousands of former members of Saddam's party to return to public life.
The plan is a longtime demand of once-dominant Sunni Arabs, now the backbone of the insurgency. But some of Maliki's Shi'ite allies, whose community was oppressed under Saddam, are fiercely opposed to having Sunnis back in government and military posts.
"We can't pass a law that gives pensions to ex-Baathists while those who were oppressed (under Saddam) have not received compensation. That is subject to a huge problem," Ibadi said.
A law to share Iraq's oil wealth hit a major hurdle after oil-rich Kurdistan said it objected to its annexes as unconstitutional and threatened to pass its own measure.
So there you have it. The more things stay the same in Iraq, the more they stay the same.