Lieberman to remain committee chairman

WASHINGTON – Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., easily won a vote to remain chairman of a key committee Tuesday and will stay in the Democratic caucus despite his high-profile criticism of President-elect Barack Obama and his support of Sen. John McCain during the presidential campaign.

Lieberman agreed to surrender his position on the Environment and Public Works Committee, leaving the panel and his subcommittee chairmanship there. But Lieberman will remain chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and head of the subcommittee of the Armed Services Committee that oversees air and land power issues.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said that “Joe Lieberman is a Democrat. He’s part of this caucus.”

The deal was negotiated by Sens. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., and Ken Salazar, D-Colo., as well as Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla. The Democratic caucus voted 42-13 to accept it.

Some senators had publicly suggested that Lieberman, one of two independents who caucus with Democrats, be stripped of his committee chairmanship for campaigning on behalf of McCain. The committee will have considerable oversight responsibilities in the Obama administration.

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