Duckworth brings her baby to Senate vote, drawing a crowd

Greg Nash

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) on Thursday took advantage of a new Senate rule to bring her infant daughter with her to cast a vote on the floor.

Senate leaders held the confirmation vote for Jim Bridenstine to be NASA administrator for nearly an hour to allow Duckworth and her daughter, Maile, to come in, for Duckworth’s first vote since giving birth earlier this month.

{mosads}Duckworth voted against Bridenstine. He was nonetheless confirmed, 50 to 49, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats opposed.

Her trip to the floor was historic, and thought to be the first time an infant has been on the Senate floor.

Up until Wednesday, the Senate didn’t allow any children onto the floor. Congress’s upper chamber is notorious for strict rules from decorum to attire.

Senators voted unanimously on Wednesday to allow children under one year of age onto the floor. Duckworth pushed the resolution along with other Senate women, due to Duckworth’s concerns about being away from her daughter and not nursing her.

Duckworth, an Iraq War veteran who lost both of her legs when her helicopter was hit by a grenade, was in her wheelchair for the vote, carrying her daughter in a sling.
Duckworth and her daughter came into the Senate chamber greeted by applause from senators. They quickly attracted a bipartisan throng of senators to admire Maile, including Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.).
McCaskill joked that Maile is “wearing a blazer,” abiding by the Senate’s strict dress rules. Duckworth joked on Twitter earlier Thursday that she had prepared an outfit for Maile, complete with a blazer.  

“I’m not sure what the policy is on duckling onesies, but I think we’re ready,” Duckworth tweeted. The girl also had a pink hat — technically prohibited by Senate rules for dress on the floor — and a white blanket.

Senators eventually noticed dozens of reporters in the gallery above gawking at Duckworth and Maile. “The press is finally interested in something worthwhile,” yelled Schumer.

Maile, Duckworth’s second daughter, was born April 9. Her entrance on the Senate floor also made a splash on Twitter:

Duckworth is the first sitting senator to give birth. 

-Updated 3:15 p.m.

Tags Amy Klobuchar Chuck Schumer Claire McCaskill Jeff Flake Jeff Merkley Jim Bridenstine Mitch McConnell Patty Murray Tammy Duckworth

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