Democrats in the U.S. Senate will allow Senator Joe Lieberman to keep heading a key committee, despite his support for Republican candidate John McCain during the recent presidential election.

In a 42-13 vote Tuesday, Democratic senators decided to allow Lieberman to stay on as chairman of the Homeland Security Committee.  But he will have to step down as the head of an environmental subcommittee.

The independent Connecticut lawmaker angered many Democrats when he campaigned vigorously for McCain.  He also criticized the Democratic nominee, current President-elect Barack Obama, calling him unprepared for the presidency.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested last week he would remove Lieberman from his key committee assignment.  But support for Lieberman grew after Mr. Obama indicated he wanted him to remain aligned with Democrats in Congress.

Following today's vote, Lieberman said he looks forward to working with the new president.

Lieberman represented Connecticut in the Senate as a Democrat for 18 years, and was Al Gore's vice presidential running mate in 2000 on the Democratic ticket.  But he was re-elected in 2006 as an independent, after losing the Democratic primary because of his support of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.