The 112th U.S. Congress is getting underway in Washington. The first female Speaker, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, is stepping aside, now that the Republicans hold 242 out of 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. John Boehner will take up the gavel as the new Speaker.
And in a nod to the always online and social-networking world, Speaker Boehner intends to expand legislators interaction with the Internet, starting today.
From a press release from the Speaker's office:
On Facebook: Facebook.com/OfficeofSpeakerBoehner – This is a new addition to Boehner’s government office and will serve as a landing page for the Speaker and staff to connect with Facebook users. But while this page is new, Boehner’s use of Facebook is not. For example, tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. ET the opening session of Congress will be live streamed on the Pledge to America Facebook Page.
The Republican Speaker of the House also plans to tweet, with the Twitter handle: On Twitter: @SpeakerBoehner – Of course Boehner isn’t the only Republican in Congress to have a new Twitter handle. Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor (R-VA) will take over the @GOPLeader account and his press team will Tweet from @CantorPress. Majority Whip-elect Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) will use @GOPWhip. You can find and follow more Republicans on Twitter via TweetCongress.org.
It's important to remember, the U.S. Senate, an equally, if not more powerful, chamber is also starting its work today. On the Senate side, the Democrats remain in power - and the leadership remains unchanged, with Majority Leader Harry Reid at the head of 53 Democrats, while Minority Leader Mitch McConnell backed by 47 Republicans. Senator McConnell has already outlined his diagnosis of Washington's political paralysis in an opinion piece for the Washington Post.
The House Republicans have put forth an ambitious 20-day plan to tackle their legislative priorities ahead of the President's State of the Union Address, expected the week of January 24. But, it's all just a prelude to the slowly gathering avalanche that will the 2012 presidential race. The Republicans are already gearing up, with former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty doing a major speech and book signing at the National Press Club in Washington on January 13.
--Priscilla Huff, Washington Correspondent.