Note: Listen to the news report by clicking on the web link and fill in the blanks.
The U.S. Congress appears headed for a final battle over health-care reform legislation in the next several days, and the political stakes for President Barack Obama, his Democratic allies and opposition Republicans are enormous.
Health-care reform has been President Barack Obama's top ________ priority, and the president is ________ an energetic ________ ________ for support, including a recent visit to Ohio.
"I do not know about the politics, but I know what is the right thing to do," Obama said. "And so I am ________ ________ Congress to pass these reforms and I am going to ________ them ________ ________. I want some courage! I want us to do the right thing, Ohio, and with your help we are going to ________ ________ ________!"
Public support for the Democratic health-care plan has ________ during the past several months, and Mr. Obama must now ________ ________ Democrats alone to ________ the legislation ________ Congress.
Political experts ________ passage of health care ________ a crucial political test for Mr. Obama ________ ________ of congressional midterm elections in November.
Tom DeFrank is a ________ journalist and political analyst with the New York Daily News and a regular guest ________ VOA's 'Issues in the News' program.
"He has some sort of health care bill close to having enough Democratic votes to ________ ________, and he also understands that he has to show that he can lead, that he can ________, that he can ________ something ________," DeFrank noted. "He needs a new ________ and he needs to be able to say, I got health care. So once again, he is ________ ________ ________."
Congressional Democrats also have a lot ________ ________ passage of a health care bill. Many liberal Democratic voters have become ________ ________ the compromises made in Congress, and they will be sorely disappointed if the health care effort ________.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi continues to ________ liberal and moderate Democrats in Congress to support this final ________ ________ passing health care.
"This legislation not only makes history, but it will ________ ________ for America's working families," she said.
The stakes are also ________ for congressional Republicans. Republicans were ________ ________ following the 2008 elections that produced a Democrat in the White House and a ________ of Democratic control of both houses of Congress.
Republicans ________ the health care effort ________ ________, arguing that it represents too much government ________ in the health care system and will ________ the country with its high cost.
Republicans have seen their standing in the polls improve as their ________ ________ health care has ________.
Indiana Republican Congressman Mike Pence spoke to a crowd outside the U.S. Capitol that had gathered to ________ ________ the Democratic health-care bill.
"I say, Mr. President, Madame Speaker, the American people know what is ________ ________ ________. We just do not want it!", he said.
Pence was cheered on not only by Republicans, but by ________ ________ and Libertarians who are supporters of the so-called Tea Party movement.
The anti-tax, anti-big government Tea Party movement takes ________ from the anti-tax protesters just before the American Revolution who threw tea into BostonHarbor to ________ British taxes.
Tea Party sympathizers oppose government ________ ________ health care and in other areas of the economy, and they fear the Democratic-led Congress is spending too much and increasing the national ________.
Julie Heckman is a Tea Party supporter from Maryland who attended the rally against the Democrat's health-care bill.
"I feel so strongly that this country is headed, ________, in a horrible direction, and for the first time in my adult life, we have a Congress that will not listen to the people, and we are ________ ________ and we want them to listen to us," she said.
The Tea Party movement is also ________ support from some political independents who say they are disappointed that President Obama has not pursued the kind of moderate, bipartisan ________ he talked about during the presidential campaign.
The combination of energized Republicans and Tea Party activists, plus disappointed independent voters spells big political trouble for Democrats trying to ________ ________ ________ Congress in the November elections.
Larry Sabato directs the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.
"In the House of Representatives, it is really a question of whether Obama's Democrats are going to lose 15 seats or 25 seats or the 40 seats necessary for the Republicans to ________ ________," noted Sabato.
Republicans are hoping for a replay of the 1994 midterm elections, when they ________ ________ ________ both the House and Senate in large part because of public opposition to the health-care-reform plan put forward by another Democrat in the White House, Bill Clinton.
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