Senate Democrats will be one vote down when they consider sweeping campaign finance disclosure legislation this afternoon as Senator Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) has told party leadership he will miss the vote to attend a friend's funeral.
The senator's absence reduces the caucus's numbers from 59 to 58 voting members, all but assuring that the DICLOSE Act won't pass when it comes up for a cloture vote Tuesday afternoon. The legislation's authors were already having difficulty finding a 60th vote to break a likely Republican filibuster. Without Lieberman, they will need two Republicans to cross party lines as opposed to one. Already two of the three most likely defectors -- Sens. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) -- have said they will oppose the measure.
The concern, said the leadership aide, "is that it will allow [Senator Olympia] Snowe (R-Maine) to vote yes and yet we fall short."
Lieberman's office did not immediately return request for comment from the Huffington Post. But a spokesperson confirmed the absence to Fox News.
Even without Lieberman's vote, it is not entirely clear whether the remaining 58 caucusing Democrats will end up supporting the DISCLOSE Act, a different version of which has already passed the House of Representatives. There has been speculation that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) may vote against the legislation, having similarly opposed the last major bite at campaign finance reform: McCain-Feingold.
UPDATE: A senior Democratic aide tells the Huffington Post that Nelson is a "yes" on cloture (something the Senator's office confirmed to Greg Sargent at the Plum Line). So there are, at the very least, 58 caucusing Democrats in support of the bill. Whether Lieberman is a yes or no on the legislation remains unknown. He won't be in town to vote on Tuesday but the aide stressed that even if today's vote failed the party would bring it up in the future.
"If this fails today we are promising to consider this again," said the aide.