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“I don’t want to say at this point in time that there is deadlock,” Mr. Hoyer told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I think there obviously, at this point in time, is very serious discussion and not a consensus. … Whether it is in gridlock or not, I don’t know.”

Mr. Hoyer said he remained confident that the committee could reach a consensus. “I think they can still get there,” he said.

On health care, Mr. Dean and his allies are trying to force Mr. Obama to be more bold in embracing a public health care system. Mr. Dean announced a new Web site,, and said he disagrees with more conservative Democrats who fear they might be vulnerable to charges of socialized medicine.

“We have a Democratic president, Democratic Senate, Democratic House. There’s no reason to trade it away,” Mr. Dean said.

Mr. Dean, a former Vermont governor and a 2004 presidential candidate, said activists must make it clear to the Democrats who won’t back a public option to the plan “that your vote is going to be connected to how they do on health insurance.”

“The election of Barack Obama has turned over this country to a new generation,” he said. “We’re going to have an all-out fight about this. … We’re not going to go down again.”

Liberals stress that they aren’t advocating that the entire plan be public like the Canadian system. They say Mr. Obama’s plan includes choices - allowing people to keep private health care insurance if they want but subsidizing its cost and expanding health care to include a Medicare-style public option.

MoveOn said the Congressional Progressive Caucus has signed Mr. Dean’s petition calling a public option “non-negotiable.”

Republicans have been largely united in attacking the House climate bill as a tax on working families that would be levied during one of the nation’s worst economic storms.

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, attacked House Democrats for granting exemptions to influential energy interests, in his online leadership blog Monday, citing a report in The Washington Times.

Duke Energy and a few other companies would be exempted from having to outfit new coal plants with expensive environmental technology, as first reported in The Times on Monday.

“As our economy weakens, and families and small businesses struggle just to keep up, Democrats in Washington are reportedly resorting to making deals with the energy industry to gain support for their new national energy tax, which would impose new taxes on any American who drives a car, flips on a light switch or buys a product manufactured in the United States,” Mr. Boehner wrote Monday.

cJon Ward, Sean Lengell and S.A. Miller contributed to this report.