With the dirty dishes cleared and leftovers safely in the fridge, Americans across the country start looking ahead to the winter holidays the day after Thanksgiving.
But for Congress, there's a pretty big hurdle to handle before the House and Senate can abscond to presents and plum pudding. It's called the fiscal cliff, and according to a recent Pew Research Poll , more Americans are paying attention to it than the scandal surrounding Gen. David Petraeus' resignation.
While talks and deals on budget cuts and tax increases are currently on hold, once the holiday weekend ends, it's time to take to Twitter and follow these folks to learn what's at stake, where each party stands and whether to expect a bipartisan deal for the new year.
Subscribe to the list on @OtusNews here.
Follow Tweeters in the House
These partisan tweeters should give a good idea of where things stand on the House side of Capitol Hill.
@SpeakerBoehner - The official Twitter account for the speaker of the House commends Republican representatives for their work on the fiscal cliff negotiations and retweets relevant articles with a GOP slant. Last Friday, a tweet from the account said, "Survey shows Americans favor GOP approach to averting #fiscalcliff http://j.mp/SsmYJT " To see more of Boehner's opinions on the issue and read about his meetings with key players, follow his personal account: @ JohnBoehner .
@NancyPelosi - While the House minority leader has kept her thoughts on the fiscal cliff away from Twitter for now, Pelosi expressed strong sentiments on the need for higher taxation of wealthy Americans in her interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz Sunday. Pelosi will be a tweeter to watch as options come on and off the table - she's a good gauge for how the rest of the party will vote.
@RepPaulRyan - The budget hawk has stayed out of the spotlight since losing the vice presidency earlier this month, but as chairman of the House Budget Committee, it's unlikely Ryan will resist for long when spending cuts are in sight. The former VP nominee's other Twitter account, @PaulRyanVP , spent a lot of time tweeting about the need for pro-growth policies and the reduction of government debt. Keep an eye on Ryan's congressional account to see if those positions will factor into the negotiations this time around.
@ChrisVanHollen - As a ranking member on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Van Hollen, D-Md., has tweeted a photo of him discussing the fiscal cliff, a video of his interview on it and vitriolic attacks with the hashtag #DoNothingGOP.
Tweeters in the Senate
Ranking senators on the fiscal cliff aren't as inclined to tweet as their House counterparts, but here is a couple to keep in your newsfeed.
@ChuckGrassley - The Republican senator from Iowa doesn't tweet many links or videos, but he is outspoken in his digital opinions. "PresObama meets w Congressional leaders tomorrow. I hope it is a serious attempt by PresO to reach bipartisan agreement not a photo op 4tax," Grassley tweeted Nov. 15. In addition to 140-character diatribes on the fiscal cliff, use Grassley's feed to learn about deer hunting, the History Channel and University of Northern Iowa football.
@SenJohnMcCain - The outspoken former presidential candidate will be one to watch throughout these negotiations. In addition to offering news on foreign affairs and the state of the nation's finances, McCain adds humor, tweeting a little pre-emptively last weekend , "Twinkies maker Hostess closes - what will we do without deep fried Twinkies at the #Iowa State Fair?"
Organizations and Think Tanks
@BudgetHawks - The handle for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget gives you an idea of what they're all about. They tweet ideas, articles and commentary on how to balance the federal budget.
@CenterOnBudget - The somewhat-left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities focuses on analyzing national data to predict how possible solutions could affect Americans.
@Heritage - The Heritage Foundation brings a conservative perspective on the financial issues at stake. On Monday it tweeted a chart showing how its plan for lowering the debt stacked up against those of four other think tanks.
@AARP - A number of Democratic senators have pledged to oppose a deal that would hurt seniors, but nevertheless, Medicare and Social Security cuts could be on the table. Follow AARP to see how congressional compromises could affect older Americans.
@CSPAN_Classroom - This account offers civics lessons for educators, but the guide to the fiscal cliff they tweeted this week has background information and interviews with lawmakers that could be helpful for anyone trying to understand the complex talks on Capitol Hill.
Observers at ABC
ABC's @JakeTapper, @DevinDwyer and @MaryKBruce will bring the view from the White House. @RickKlein, @AmyEWalter and @ JonKarl will have analysis of the issues (most likely with sports metaphors to boot). Turn to @GStephanopoulos for the big picture. @JParkABC report on the ground from the House of Representatives and @SunlenMiller will cover the Senate.
The Instigators, 2016ers and Others
@JimDemint - U.S. Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., draws a hard line and likes to stir up the conversation, though the Romney backer has been unusually quiet since President Obama's win. We're hoping this budget battle will be enough to rile him up again.
@TedCruz - The senator-elect from Texas will undoubtedly raise some eyebrows with his fired-up rhetoric during this showdown. As an example of his spunk, the Republican rising star essentially issued a challenge to President Obama about working together on the fiscal cliff.
@MarcoRubio - With his attendance at the Iowa governor's birthday bash last week, it seems Sen. Rubio, R-Fla., is already preparing to court a 2016 electorate. He'll want to command a memorable presence in this historic fiscal fight.
@GovernorOMalley - The Maryland governor is rumored to be a Democratic favorite for 2016. He's garnered praise for reining in costs to the state.
@econjared - Jared Bernstein is a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities fellow and the former chief economist and economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden who made some of the original predictions about the stimulus package.
For a Laugh
And of course … @BarackObama - If the fiscal cliff fight is anything like the battle to raise the debt ceiling, President Obama will likely take to Twitter to encourage Americans to get involved and contact their representatives. You'll know tweets that come directly from the president (and not his communications team) if they have "-BO" at the end.
Did we miss someone? Tweet your suggestions to @WordsOfSarah!