Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-Conn.) has a shot at retaining his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee when Democrats cast their secret ballots tomorrow, according to Democratic insiders.
And if he keeps the gavel, Democrats are floating a far less draconian punishment: Lieberman could get booted off the Armed Services or environmental committees as punishment for backing John McCain and questioning Barack Obama’s fitness to lead, Democrats say.
Either way, Lieberman faces a day of reckoning tomorrow in the historic Old Senate Chamber during an organizational meeting of the Democratic caucus.
Here’s how it will go down:
--Caucus secretary Patty Murray (D-Wash.) calls the roll at 9:30 a.m. Lieberman is then expected to make an address to his fellow Democrats, asking them to forego vengeance.
--Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has publicly expressed his displeasure with Lieberman, may speak up – or he could remain silent.
--At that point, any member could introduce a motion to remove Lieberman from the committee (Sens. Patrick Leahy, Bernie Sanders and Byron Dorgan are among the likely sponsors). Other amendments – including any plan to strip Lieberman of seats on other committees – could then be introduced.
--More speeches, should any member want to give any.
--A secret ballot.
After that, it’s on to a series of (likely) unanimous leadership votes, starting with Reid as majority leader. Democratic insiders say the caucus could then pick Chuck Schumer’s replacement as Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman, almost certainly Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.).
The group will then review anticipated committee changes. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) will be tapped to replace Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as chairman of the Appropriations Committee. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is the likely choice for Joe Biden’s vacated Foreign Relations post.