Dems willing to keep Lieberman so he can work on energy issues
Senate Democrats are trying to figure out what to do with Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), after the former Democrat (who still caucuses with the party) campaigned aggressively for Republican John McCain.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid doesn’t seem to be pushing Lieberman out of the party. Obama’s spokesfolk say the president-elect isn’t going to “hold any grudges” against him or take a position on whether he should keep his position as chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. Bill Clinton is reportedly making calls on his behalf (though his people have denied that claim).
Not everyone wants to make nice with Joe, though. Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.) are among those calling for his ouster as chair of the Homeland Security Committee.
One reason some Democrats are saying they want to keep Lieberman happily among their ranks is his work on climate and energy issues. He cosponsored last year’s Climate Security Act with Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), as well as the Climate Stewardship Act with McCain in 2003, 2005, and 2007, and some are hoping he’ll continue to play a key role on these efforts.
Said Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.):
And I think if Joe came before the caucus and said look, if I said some things that came as offensive, I’m sorry, but they were, you know heartfelt in my support of John McCain. I think we had to just let bygones be bygones. We’re going to need him on healthcare and energy independence and education and a whole lot of other things.