Duckworth's newborn daughter becomes first baby permitted on Senate floor

FEB. 14 2018 FILE

Just before the Senate voted unanimously to allow children under 1 year old on the floor of the Senate on Wednesday, Sen. The resolution allows parents to bring children under the age of one into the chamber during voting. Then, on Thursday, Duckworth brought her newborn to work to cast a vote to confirm Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) as the head of NASA. The Republican-controlled Senate held the vote open so Duckworth and Maile could adhere to the new rule. Back in 2009, senator Kirsten Gillibrand was asked to preside over the Senate from 5 to 7pm, which was when she needed to nurse her son.

The Senate chamber is where lawmakers discuss and vote on legislation. The Senate prides itself on being a check on impulsive decision-making and has resisted...

Duckworth is already one of only 10 women to give birth while holding elected federal office as her first child, Abigail, was born in 2014 when she was serving in the US House of Representatives.

"I think it's historic, I think it's awesome", Duckworth said.

Some reporters in the press gallery peering down at the floor action even let out audible coos, prompting Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to gaze upward and quip: "The press is finally interested in something worthwhile".

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., is enthusiastically supportive of babies on the floor, calling them an excellent distraction. Many lauded the mother for her actions, but she said it was nothing that deserved the attention.

The Illinois lawmaker tweeted a picture of baby Maile's outfit ahead of the pair's arrival at Capitol Hill.

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The rule had passed without objection - but there had been plenty of grumbling about babies threatening the Senate's cherished decorum.

However, Klobuchar and other allies said the Senate should aim to make work life easier for parents.

Sen. Tom Cotton, father of two, said he has no problem with the rule change.

"I do think some of these policy changes will make that a little easier", she said.

Sen. Pat Roberts, also a Republican, said that while he would not oppose the change, "I don't think [it's] necessary".

The proposal originally generated some fussiness in the typically staid U.S. Senate, which is bound by tradition and seldom changes its rules.

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