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Votes not there yet on energy

From NBC's Mike Viqueira

We have the potential for legislative drama on the House floor today, as Nancy Pelosi and Democrats are still scrambling for votes in support of the energy bill.

The pressure is on wavering members, especially majority Democrats. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a left-leaning member from Austin who is opposing the measure on the grounds that it has been excessively watered down in an effort to attract moderates, had an audience with the entire first family in the Oval Office last night.

Doggett was on the grounds to attend the congressional picnic when he was pulled aside by staff and brought into the Oval. The president was there, waiting to twist his arm, and so were Michelle, Sasha, Malia, and Bo, all of whom had gathered in preparation to go outside and join the festivities.

Doggett had what he estimates was 10 minutes where the president made his case, but he remains unconvinced. Not only will he vote against the bill, but this morning he went so far as to vote "nay" on a preliminary procedure vote ("the rule"), a move considered around here to be a heresy against party discipline.

Doggett was not alone. Several Blue Dog Democratic moderates also voted against the rule, many of them from rural districts where they feel that the impact of the bill will result in higher energy costs. They were joined by liberals like Doggett, Kucinich, and DeFazio, who feel like it has been weakened to an unacceptable degree.

Even a committee chairman, Rep. Nick Rahall, from the coal-producing state of West Virginia, voted against the rule. That's not going to sit well with Dem leaders.

Bottom line here: Even with calls and meetings with the president, Al Gore and others, this thing is not yet over the top.

Expect a vote around 5:00 pm ET.