Senate Dems set to vote on Lieberman

For the moment, it appears that the self-proclaimed "Independent Democrat" will keep his committee chairmanship, but lose his spot at the head of a subcommittee.

Published November 18, 2008 1:30PM (EST)

Tuesday morning, Senate Democrats will gather for a meeting that will decide the fate of their estranged colleague, Connecticut's Joe Lieberman.

The self-described "Independent Democrat" has been on the outs with Democrats ever since his 2006 re-election campaign, when he lost the party's primary to Ned Lamont but ran -- and won -- in the general election anyway. But this year's presidential campaign, during which Lieberman acted as a prominent surrogate for John McCain and even publicly supported one Republican Senator, was the last straw for some Democrats.

However, it now appears likely that Lieberman will get only a slap on the wrist with his transgressions. Multiple outlets are reporting that the caucus will probably follow the lead of President-elect Barack Obama, who has reportedly said that he doesn't want Lieberman to bolt to the Republican side of the aisle. In order to keep him from doing that, the Democrats probably won't vote to strip him of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee. Instead, they'll take away a lesser prize, a subcommittee chair.

There are no guarantees, though. The vote will happen by secret ballot, and most of the senators have kept mum about their intentions, so there's still a chance of a different result.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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