Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., and Democratic Senator-elect,Tom Udall, voted for a resolution today that allowed wayward Sen. Joe Lieberman to remain in the Democratic caucus.
Lieberman, who won his last election as an independent but remains a registered Democrat, is under fire from many left-leaning Democrats who contend he should be banished for supporting Republican John McCain and publicly criticizing Barack Obama during the presidential campaign. Senate Dems also allowed Lieberman to remain as chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, a prestigious leadership position. But they did force him to give up a leadership post on another panel.
Here’s Bingaman’s statement:
“Today, the Democratic caucus fully debated a resolution that rebuked Sen. Lieberman for some of the actions and statements he made during the presidential campaign, and stripped him of his leadership position on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. I voted for that resolution, and I believe its adoption was an appropriate outcome. It also has the benefit of allowing the caucus to move forward on preparing for our legislative priorities as well as planning to help the new president advance his agenda. With Sen. Lieberman remaining as a member of the Democratic caucus, we are one vote closer to having a 60-vote threshold required to pass legislation and get things done for the country,” Bingaman said.
And here’s a statement from Udall spokesman Sam Simon:
“Congressman Udall voted for a resolution to condemn Senator Lieberman’s statements against Barack Obama during the campaign and to strip Lieberman of a subcommittee chairmanship. He also spoke against Lieberman’s behavior during the campaign. He hopes that, with this resolution, the Senate Democratic caucus can put this in the past and focus on working with every willing Senator to advance an aggressive agenda.”
The Democratic leadership in the Senate decided not to have an actual vote on whether to keep Lieberman in the party’s Senate caucus. Many Democratic voters out in the blogosphere are furious with the Democratic Senate caucus and think Lieberman should have been excommunicated. But Lieberman votes with Democrats more often than not and his vote could be critical in preventing Republican filibusters on tenuous climate change and other legislation.