Thanks to Tammy Duckworth, infants are now allowed on the Senate floor

22 April, 2018, 02:43 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • Sen. Tammy Duckworth D-Ill. speaks to Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Summit Feb. 14 on Capitol Hill in Washington. Babies do not care about Senate decorum. But in a bow to working parents the tradition-bound institution is considering letting

The Senate voted Wednesday to permit children under the age of one in the chamber while their parents cast votes.

Frumin, like some Senate Republicans, anxious too that changing Senate Rule 23, which prohibits family members from the Senate floor, would open the floodgates to senators bringing their children and grandchildren on the floor too often.

Senator Tammy Duckworth brought her oldest daughter, Abigail, to a reenacted swearing-in ceremony with then-Vice President Joe Biden on January 3, 2017. Made sure she has a jacket so she doesn't violate the Senate floor dress code requiring blazers.

Except, the old Senate rules would have made carrying out her responsibilities a logistical nightmare as a new mother. Senator Duckworth joked, "She is!"

But, he pointed out to The Associated Press, a member can vote while standing in the door to the Senate cloakroom.

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At least one right-wing pundit implied that the presence of an infant on the Senate floor could interfere with the making of conservative laws.

Ms Duckworth, a United States army veteran who lost her legs when a Black Hawk helicopter she was co-piloting in Iraq in 2004 was shot down, represents IL for the Democrats. "I feel that way today", she said in a phone interview from her home in IL, where she was home with her 13-week-old son.

However, he does not believe it is "necessary" for babies to be on the Senate floor during voting.

"It's about time", Duckworth, a double amputee, told reporters as she arrived to vote in a wheel chair.

What, he mused, would happen "if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?"

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U.S. law prevents congressional employees, who are paid by USA taxpayers, from conducting the personal business of lawmakers, so the rule change accommodates parents of a newborn in the event they need to vote and care for their child at the same time. "The more women we get into office the more family-friendly legislation we're going to have", Duckworth said in February in an interview with Politico.

"I think it depends on if the parent is thoughtful about other people", Mickelsen said Thursday.

"Part of our history is recognizing change", said Sen.

But will babies have to carry the mandatory floor pass?

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said the rule is also narrowly written to allow parents of children under a year to perform their duties without being separated from their children and to allow the business of the Senate to go on uninterrupted.

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