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GOP senators raise concerns about babies on Senate floor

GOP senators raise concerns about babies on Senate floor
© Greg Nash

GOP senators have raised concerns about a new resolution that allows babies under a year old onto the Senate floor during votes but were not worried enough to vote against the measure.

While the measure cleared the chamber by unanimous consent, a number of Senators expressed that they are still unsure about the new rule introduced by Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthChina conducts amphibious landing drill near Taiwan after senators' visit US, Taiwan to discuss trade, investments, Blinken says Chinese state media rip senators' stop in Taiwan: 'A treacherous move' MORE (D-Ill.), who recently became the first senator to give birth while in office.

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Longtime Republican Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchDrug prices are declining amid inflation fears The national action imperative to achieve 30 by 30 Financial market transactions should not be taxed or restricted MORE (Utah), who has six children, 14 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren, said he had "no problem" with the new rule for the chamber, but asked what would happen "if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate," according to The Associated Press.

Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsSenate GOP faces retirement brain drain Roy Blunt won't run for Senate seat in 2022 Lobbying world MORE (R-Kan.) also told the AP that while he didn't object to the change, he didn't think it was "necessary" to allow newborns on the chamber floor. 

But the move was heralded by Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHouse unveils antitrust package to rein in tech giants Democrats reintroduce bill to create 'millionaires surtax' Senate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin MORE (D-Minn.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellWhy the Democrats need Joe Manchin Out-of-touch Democrats running scared of progressives The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Bipartisan group reaches infrastructure deal; many questions remain MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler launches Missouri Senate bid Cryptocurrency industry lobbies Washington for 'regulatory clarity' Bipartisan group prepping infrastructure plan as White House talks lag MORE (R-Mo.) did not stand in the way of the resolution. 

"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.

The new mother herself praised the Senate for "leading by example" to create a kid-friendly workplace for working moms.

Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonOvernight Defense: Austin and Milley talk budget, Afghanistan, sexual assault and more at wide-ranging Senate hearing Cotton, Pentagon chief tangle over diversity training in military Media continues to lionize Anthony Fauci, despite his damning emails MORE (R-Ark.), a 40-year-old father of two, also said he had no issues with the rules change, but hedged his support for a suggestion by Roberts for the infants to only be allowed in the Senate's cloakroom as "a good compromise."

Duckworth, who uses a wheelchair after losing both of her legs during her military tour in Iraq, said that the room was not wheelchair accessible. Some senators initially proposed an exception for her case. 

While senators of both parties have reportedly expressed concerns in private, Klobuchar said that reassurances by Republicans and Democrats have “been going on for weeks.”

For Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioBipartisan lawmakers want Biden to take tougher action on Nicaragua Demings raises million after announcing Senate bid against Rubio Bipartisan senators introduce bill to protect small businesses from cyberattacks MORE (R-Fla.) joked that the new rule won't be a huge change for the overwhelmingly elderly group of senators.

"Why would I object to it? We have plenty of babies on the floor,” the 46-year-old joked.