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 DuckworthWe must learn from the Afghanistan experience — starting with the withdrawal As democracy withers, Bob Dole and other American soldiers must be remembered Overnight Defense & National Security — Austin mandates vaccine for Guardsmen MORE (D-Ill.), who recently became the first senator to give birth while in office.

ADVERTISEMENT

Longtime Republican Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchMeet Washington's most ineffective senator: Joe Manchin Lobbying world Congress, stop holding 'Dreamers' hostage 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 RobertsBiden remembers Dole as 'master of the Senate' at National Cathedral Bob Dole: heroic, prickly and effective McConnell gets GOP wake-up call 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 KlobucharApple warns antitrust legislation could expose Americans to malware Big Tech critics launch new project Overnight Defense & National Security — Texas hostage situation rattles nation MORE (D-Minn.), and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellNAACP president presses senators on voting rights: 'You will decide who defines America' Sununu says he skipped Senate bid to avoid being 'roadblock' to Biden for two years 'All or nothing' won't bolster American democracy: Reform the filibuster and Electoral Count Act MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntJohnson, Thune signal GOP's rising confidence Senate Minority Whip Thune, close McConnell ally, to run for reelection The end of orphanages starts with family strengthening programs 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 CottonSinema scuttles hopes for filibuster reform Republicans threaten floor takeover if Democrats weaken filibuster  Will Putin sink Biden? 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 RubioThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement Florida looms large in Republican 2024 primary How a nice-guy South Dakota senator fell into a Trump storm 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.