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Tues. Lieberman Vote In Old Senate Chamber

Senate Democrats will begin considering the fate of Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-Conn.) early Tuesday morning, including whether to strip him of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The meeting will take place in the Old Senate Chamber beginning at 9:30 a.m. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), as secretary of the Democratic Caucus will open the proceedings and call the roll of senators, and then Lieberman is expected to make an address to his fellow Democrats. It is unclear at this point whether Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has publicly expressed his displeasure with Lieberman, will speak.

A motion would have to be offered to remove Lieberman from the committee would have to be offered, and amendments to such a motion could also be introduced, such as allowing Lieberman to keep his full-committee post but remove him from lesser positions on Armed Services or Environment and Public Works, two panels on which he serves in addition to HSGA.

Once any speeches or comments have been completed, a secret ballot will then be held.

Following any vote on Lieberman, Reid will be re-elected as majority leader, likely by acclamation. Reid will then take the gavel and announce elections for the rest of the leadership posts. All those are likely to be by unanimous acclamation as well. Democratic insiders said the next chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which is likely to be Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.), may be chosen at this time, although that was still up in the air at press time.

Reid and the Democratic Steering Committee will then review choices for other full committee posts. The election of Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) as vice president, and the replacement of Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, will result in a series of changes across the Senate panels. Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) will take over for Byrd, at Appropriations, while Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) is the likely choice for Foreign Relations now that Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) has ruled out leaving the Banking Committee.

The new committee chair slate is expected to be approved at another "organizational" meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Subcommittee posts and other committee assignments will be decided down the road, once the still-undecided elections in Alaska, Georgia and Minnesota are finalized.

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