WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democrat turned independent who backed Republican Sen. John McCain for president, will meet at 1 p.m. Thursday with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to discuss Lieberman’s future with the Democratic caucus, according to two congressional sources familiar with the matter.
At stake is Lieberman’s chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and possibly his other committee assignments. Reid could also ask Lieberman to leave the Democratic caucus altogether.
Lieberman’s support of McCain – and harshly critical words of President-elect Barack Obama during the campaign - angered many Senate Democrats but Reid was reluctant to act against the Connecticut senator earlier because Democratic control of the Senate relied on Lieberman’s decision to organize with the Democrats.
But after picking up multiple Democratic seats on Election Day, Reid is politically empowered to strip Lieberman of the coveted chairmanship if he chooses. The full Democratic caucus would have to approve any action Reid takes when it meets on Capitol Hill in two weeks.
Democratic leadership aides would not say what Reid will do at the highly-anticipated meeting which is expected to take place in Reid’s leadership suite off the Senate floor. Reid has not been shy in the past about expressing his frustration with Lieberman who just eight years ago was the Democrats’ nominee for Vice President. But he’s also repeatedly said he values Lieberman’s membership in the caucus because on most issues Lieberman votes with the Democrats.