Skip to main content

Sources: Lieberman likely to keep top Democratic post

  • Story Highlights
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman is the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee
  • The independent senator angered Democrats after supporting John McCain
  • Sources: Lieberman to keep chairmanship, lose subcommittee post
  • Democratic caucus formally meets Tuesday to decide his fate
  • Next Article in Politics »
From Dana Bash and Ted Barrett
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senate Democrats appear willing to let Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, keep his powerful Homeland Security Committee chairmanship, even though he campaigned vigorously for Sen. John McCain's White House bid, two sources told CNN Monday.

Sen. Joe Lieberman's speech to the Republican National Convention angered some Democrats.

Sen. Joe Lieberman's speech to the Republican National Convention angered some Democrats.

But the veteran lawmaker will, according to the sources, lose a less prominent chairmanship of a subcommittee on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

"He's not happy about it, but he accepts it," one of the sources said.

Several lawmakers involved in the discussions over Lieberman's fate credited President-elect Barack Obama's desire to keep Lieberman in the Democratic caucus and let bygones be bygones as being a key reason Democratic leaders have agreed to support allowing Lieberman to keep his committee chair.

Democrats will meet behind closed doors in the Old Senate Chamber in the Capitol Tuesday morning. The Lieberman matter will be the first item on the agenda and a vote will be cast by secret ballot.

Lieberman and several other senators are expected to make presentations about Lieberman's behavior during the campaign. Several senators who are angry with Lieberman told CNN they would question Lieberman in detail about what he said and why when he was campaigning for Republican nominee McCain.

It is possible additional measures could be taken against Lieberman, or that alternatives could be offered, the sources said. But the question about his Homeland Security Committee has been the most pressing issue. Video Watch more on Lieberman's future »

Lieberman met Thursday with Reid to discuss his future with the Democratic caucus.

After the meeting, the Connecticut senator did not discuss what he and Reid talked about, but said, "The election is over, and I completely agree with President-elect Obama that we must now unite to get our economy going again and to keep the American people safe.

"That is exactly what I intend to do with my colleagues here in the Senate in support of our new president," he said. "And those are the standards I will use in considering the options that I have before me."

Reid said after the meeting that no decisions had been made during their meeting.

"While I understand that Sen. Lieberman has voted with Democrats a majority of the time, his comments and actions have raised serious concerns among many in our caucus," said Reid.

Reid was especially irked by Lieberman's prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention this summer.

During the speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, Lieberman said, "Sen. Barack Obama is a gifted and eloquent young man who I think can do great things for our country in the years ahead, but, my friends, eloquence is no substitute for a record, not in these tough times for America."

After the speech, Obama adviser Robert Gibbs said that "Joe Lieberman ought to be ashamed of himself for some of the things he said tonight, not as a Democrat but as an American."


Reid has not been shy in the past about expressing his frustration with Lieberman, who eight years ago was the Democrats' nominee for vice president.

But Reid also repeatedly has said he values Lieberman's membership in the caucus because on most issues, Lieberman votes with Democrats.

CNN's Ed Hornick and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report.

All About Joseph LiebermanU.S. SenateHarry Reid

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print