New rule allows newborn babies on Senate floor

Alex Wong  Getty Images

Alex Wong Getty Images

Senators voted unanimously on Wednesday, April 18, to allow newborns on the Senate floor. Although she's the only mom of a newborn in the U.S. Senate, with hope, this rule change will have a reverberating effect that makes Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who had done some of the negotiating and behind-the-scenes reassuring of senators, clapped and gave Duckworth a hug when she arrived.

There was more, voiced privately, Klobuchar said - including whether Duckworth meant to change Maile's diaper or nurse her new baby on the Senate floor. Prompted by the first sitting senator with a newborn, the Senate has chose to allow the babies of its members into the chamber, but not before some coaxing.

Duckworth, who is taking her unofficial maternity leave in Washington, DC, spearheaded the push for the rule change.

As recently as 2009, the Senate swimming pool was male-only; it took an intervention from former senator Kay Hagan and senator Chuck Schumer to make the pool co-ed. Why?

Its passage without objection came despite plenty of concern, some privately aired, among senators of both parties about the threat the tiny humans pose to the Senate's cherished decorum.

"I think it will do us good in the United States Senate, every once in a while, to see a pacifier next to the antique inkwells on our desk or a diaper bag next to one of these brass spittoons which sits on the floor, thank goodness, never used", said Sen.

First of all, congratulations are in order for Duckworth and her husband on the birth of their daughter and second child.

Senators said the bill seems like a fairly commonsense accommodation that reflects the Senate as it is today - with 23 women and a handful of younger parents. That required a change in Senate rules that typically allow only senators and a handful of staff into the Senate chamber during votes. Duckworth recently told What to Expect that her dream for every mom is "the flawless work-life balance for them and their family". "I'm not sure what the policy is on duckling onesies, but I think we're ready", she wrote, accompanying the tweet with a picture of baby clothes. "What if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?" he wondered. Klobuchar said of the baby, proving that even in the midst of change, some Senate traditions remain alive and well.

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