A liberal activist group is calling on Democratic leaders in the Senate to strip Sen. Joe Lieberman's chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
In an e-mail on Monday, Democrats.com urged Majority Leader Harry Reid, Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Chuck Schumer to oust Lieberman after he vowed to filibuster any Senate healthcare reform bill that includes a "public option" for government-run health insurance.
Reid said last year that Lieberman, an independent Democrat, should keep his chairmanship because "he's with us on everything but the war," Roll Call reported.
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But the e-mail states: "Now is the time for Senate Democratic leadership — Senators Reid, Schumer, and Durbin — to stop making excuses for Joe Lieberman.
"Harry Reid has shown great leadership in writing a healthcare bill that includes the public option. But Joe Lieberman is not 'with us' on everything but the war. Joe Lieberman's position is against Senate Democrats, against his constituents in Connecticut and against the will of the American public.
"Actions must have consequences. Any senator who filibusters the public option does not deserve a chairmanship and should be removed from his or her post."
It's "unclear," however, how much support there is in the Senate for punishing Lieberman, according to Roll Call.
Democrats.com notes on its Web site: "The Democratic majorities in the Senate and the House are large enough to pass a 'public option' even with no Republican support. But a handful of conservative 'Democrats' are blocking the will of the Democratic majority.
These conservative 'Democrats' refuse to listen to the Democratic voters who elected them. That means it's up to our Democratic leaders - Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and President Obama - to persuade them."
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