Lieberman’s Day of Reckoning to Come Thursday

Posted November 5, 2008 at 9:36am

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is scheduled to meet with Sen. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) on Thursday to discuss his future in the Senate Democratic Conference, according to a Democratic Senate source.

A growing number of Senate Democrats have been pressuring Reid to penalize Lieberman for aggressively backing Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in this year’s presidential contest. At stake for Lieberman is his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and his place in the Democratic Conference.

It remains unclear what Reid will say in his upcoming meeting with Lieberman, but Democrats believe he is inching toward at least wresting the Homeland Security gavel from him. Lieberman, who sides with Democrats on most issues except the war in Iraq, became one of McCain’s most ardent allies and one of President-elect Obama’s vocal critics this presidential season.

Senate Democrats were particularly incensed with their Connecticut colleague after his bruising speech during the GOP presidential convention, during which Lieberman went on the attack against Obama. Lieberman was Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee in 2000.

Senate Democrats currently hold a 56-seat majority over Republicans, but the outcome of three races remains unclear. Even with a more powerful hand, the Democrats may still rely on Lieberman’s vote on key issues over the next two years.

Lieberman, in a statement Wednesday morning, didn’t address his future with Senate Democrats, but he pledged to work with all his colleagues to get things done.

“I sincerely congratulate President-elect Obama for his historic and impressive victory. America remains a nation of extraordinary opportunity and the American people are a people of extraordinary fairness,” Lieberman wrote. “Now that the election is over, it is time to put partisan considerations aside and come together as a nation to solve the difficult challenges we face and make our blessed land stronger and safer. I pledge to work with President-elect Obama and his incoming administration in their efforts to reinvigorate our economy and keep our nation secure and free.”