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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 DuckworthOvernight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage National Guard back inside Capitol after having been moved to parking garage Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee 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 HatchMellman: What happened after Ginsburg? Bottom line Bottom line 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 swears-in six new lawmakers as 117th Congress convenes Window quickly closing for big coronavirus deal Trump's controversial Fed nominee stalled after Senate setback 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 KlobucharSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Klobuchar says Senate impeachment trial of former official is constitutional: 'We have precedent' MORE (D-Minn.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHumanist Report host criticizes 'conservative Democrats:' They 'hold more power' than progressives Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' Biden's Cabinet gradually confirmed by Senate MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntJust five GOP senators vote Trump impeachment trial is constitutional Trump, allies raise pressure on Senate GOP ahead of impeachment This week: Senate stuck in limbo 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 CottonSenate GOP signals it's likely to acquit Trump for second time The Economist hires former NYT editor who resigned following Cotton editorial The Hill's Morning Report - Biden argues for legislative patience, urgent action amid crisis 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 RubioOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Court upholds ruling invalidating Dakota Access, but doesn't shut down pipeline | Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency | Biden seeks to bolster consultation with Indian Country The Memo: Chances recede of GOP breaking with Trump Schumer calls for Biden to declare climate emergency 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.