Muckraker: Grist on Politics

Senate Democrats decided this morning to let Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) keep his chairmanships of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and Airland Subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee. But as punishment for his rigorous campaigning for Republican presidential candidate John McCain, Lieberman will lose his seat on the Environment and Public Works Committee.

By a vote of 42-13 (newly elected senators were also allowed to vote), Democrats approved a resolution that expressed disapproval of Lieberman’s remarks about Barack Obama on the campaign trail, but let him keep his highest post. The resolution called for “a spirit of reconciliation.”

“It’s a resolution of reconciliation and not retribution,” Lieberman told reporters after the meeting. “I appreciate it.”

The decision also means Lieberman will forfeit his chairmanship of the EPW Subcommittee on Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection, as well as his spot on the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee.

Lieberman has been active on climate issues in the EPW committee, criticizing the Bush administration for neglecting climate change and co-sponsoring the Climate Stewardship Act with McCain in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Earlier this year, he also cosponsored the Climate Security Act with Sen. John Warner (R-Va.).

Senate Democrats have been divided on how to handle Lieberman post-election, with some expressing interest in keeping him happily caucusing with the party so that he can work on issues like climate and energy policy.