Senate Democrats to Decide Lieberman's Fate

Tuesday is D-Day for Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman.

At 9:30 a.m., Democratic senators (no staff allowed) will file into the old Senate chamber for leadership elections and other party business. The first item on the agenda will be Lieberman's fate, discussing whether he will be punished for the perceived transgressions of supporting Republican Sen. John McCain's presidential bid, attacking President-elect Barack Obama during the campaign and, worst of all, giving money to the campaigns of Republican Sens. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., Gordon Smith, R-Ore., and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Democratic sources tell ABC News there is a tentative deal that will punish Lieberman, but not as severely as many of his colleagues had hoped.

"It's peace, love and understanding time," said one Senate Democrat. "There's a general feeling of, 'Let's get beyond this and reconcile.'"

Lieberman was re-elected to his Senate seat in 2006 as an independent after losing Connecticut's Democratic primary, but he aligns with the party within the Senate.

Under the arrangement, Lieberman would keep the chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee, but he would lose his chairmanship of a subcommittee of the Environment and Public Works Committee, known as the Private Sector and Consumer Solutions to Global Warming and Wildlife Protection. It's a subcommittee with a lot of words in its name, but not a lot of power.

Lieberman's office has refused comment on this, but ABC News has been told that he has privately expressed a willingness to accept this minor demotion.

This is not a done deal. There will be a secret ballot vote on the arrangement during Tuesday morning's meeting.

Lieberman will keep his other chairmanship on the Airland subcommittee of the Senate Armed Services Committee. That will leave him as the chairman of one full committee and one subcommittee -- not bad for a guy who gave a prime time speech at the Republican National Convention two months ago.

For context and comparison, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., chairs only one subcommittee. She is, however, a lower ranking member of Lieberman's Airland subcommittee.

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