Senate

Senate passes resolution allowing Duckworth to bring baby on floor

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The Senate approved a resolution on Wednesday evening to allow Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) — the first senator to give birth while in office — to bring her baby onto the floor. 

The chamber cleared the resolution by unanimous consent. It allows Duckworth, or any other senator, to bring a child younger than one year of age onto the floor during votes. 
 
“The Senate is leading by example and sending the important message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies. These policies aren’t just a women’s issue, they are a common-sense economic issue,” Duckworth said in a statement.

Duckworth had voiced concerns about the Senate rules making it harder for her to do her job. In order to vote, senators need to be in the Senate chamber in person.

  
{mosads}Senators had signaled they expected the resolution could move quickly. 
 
Duckworth submitted the resolution less than a week ago, after giving birth to a baby girl. 
 
And Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the top Democrat on the Rules Committee, announced on Tuesday that she and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the chairman of the panel, had agreed to move it out of committee. 
 
“We are proud to have Senator Tammy Duckworth—working mom to a newborn –among our ranks and I’m glad the Rules Committee was able to swiftly make this historic rule change for her and future senators,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

Blunt added “being a parent is a difficult job, and the Senate rules shouldn’t make it any harder.”

 
A Senate aide told The Hill earlier Wednesday that the bill was being “hotlined” — meaning unless a senator objected it would be cleared through the chamber either by unanimous consent or a voice vote.
 
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who didn’t object to the rule change, told the Associated Press that he he didn’t think it was “necessary” to allow babies on the floor.

Despite having a record-breaking number of female senators, 23, the chamber is still overwhelming comprised of male lawmakers.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) after the rule change was approved that it “will do us good … every once in a while to see a pacifier next to the antique ink wells on our desk or a diaper bag.”

“Perhaps the cry of a baby will shock the Senate at times into speaking out and even crying out on the issues that confront our nation and the world,” he said.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) quipped back that: “They don’t use diaper bags anymore. They’re disposable diapers. I know because I’ve got 20 kids and grandkids.”

 
-Updated 7:32 p.m.
Tags Amy Klobuchar baby children Dick Durbin Pat Roberts Roy Blunt Tammy Duckworth United States Senate

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