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Senators vote to allow babies on Senate floor

22 April 2018

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., arrives at the Capitol for a vote with her new daughter, Maile, on Thursday. But Duckworth - the first sitting U.S. Senator to give birth - asked the rule be changed so she can attend to both her mother duties and senatorial duties. Currently, the senator is on unofficial maternity leave in Washington, D.C., so she can remain nearby for important votes. But Klobuchar and other advocates say they hope there will soon be other senators who might have to make use of the accommodation.

Of course, some would argue that babies have always been allowed on the floor of the Senate, but those would be babies of the adult variety. The senator ensured baby Maile adhered to Senate floor dress code policy, wearing a jacket since blazers are required.

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Hatch said he had "no problem" with the rule change, but his offhand question afterward didn't go over well.

The vote to allow children under one on the floor, including for breastfeeding, was unanimously passed on Wednesday after Duckworth introduced the resolution earlier this week.

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Duckworth's fellow Democratic senator from Illinois, Dick Durbin, said babies could be an inspiration to the Senate. Not to mention, the House already allows children on the floor. Tammy Duckworth to breast-feed on the Senate floor. The Senate sometimes votes late at night and takes multiple 15-minute votes back to back, often taking an hour or longer, which could be a long time away from a newborn who needs to be fed. Enid Micklesen from Utah, who in 1995 was the first Republican congresswoman to give birth while in office. "I've done it", he said.

Duckworth was welcomed with applause when she entered the Senate chamber holding baby Maile. "The more women we get into office the more family-friendly legislation we're going to have", Duckworth said in February in an interview with Politico.

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Personally, I think this new policy is a common-sense update - especially since there is now a record number of women (22) serving in the U.S. Senate. "That would be a delight", she said, especially since it would likely mean Americans were electing younger senators. And on Thursday, she helped make history again: Her new daughter was the first infant allowed on the Senate floor.

Senators vote to allow babies on Senate floor