Senator Tammy Duckworth made history earlier this year as the first acting senator to give birth while in office, and today she made history again. Duckworth brought her newborn baby, Maile, onto the Senate floor Thursday — the first time ever that a baby has been allowed in the chamber.
The baby accompanied her mother to work today after Duckworth worked to change a law that prohibited children, even infants from being in Senate, something that could keep senators from performing their duties when it comes to important votes on the floor.
“By ensuring that no Senator will be prevented from performing their constitutional responsibilities simply because they have a young child,” Senator Duckworth tweeted last night, “the Senate is leading by example & sending the important message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies.”
The new policy in question got unanimous support this week, even though some of the older members of the Senate weren’t quite sure what to make of the policy change. “But what if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?” asked great-grandfather Orin Hatch, who is retiring from politics this year.
Sen. Tom Cotton also had reservations, explaining that a parent such as Sen. Duckworth could vote from inside the cloakroom outside of the Senate chambers, but other senators reminded Cotton that Sen. Duckworth is a double amputee and her wheelchair doesn’t fit into the doorway in question.
At the end of the day, Duckworth prevailed, and now, all parents who must pull double duty as both parents and senators can easily bring an infant with them onto the floor for important votes. Like, literal infants — not just adults who act like them, as Senator Marco Rubio joked.
“We have plenty of babies on the floor,” the Florida Republican quipped. But now, they can officially welcome Senator Duckworth’s daughter, Maile, too.
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(Photo via Alex Wong/Getty)