Senators vote to allow babies on Senate floor

FEB. 14 2018 FILE

Duckworth proposed changing the rules to allow senators with newborns - not just Duckworth, and not just women - to bring their babies onto the floor of the Senate.

On April 9, Tammy Duckworth became the first USA senator to give birth in office.

Kaitlin Fahey, Duckworth's chief of staff, explained in a statement given to CNN that the rule change was introduced "to ensure no senator with an infant is prevented from performing their constitutional responsibilities-and send a message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies". Prompted by the first sitting senator with a newborn, the Senate has made a decision to allow the babies of its members into the chamber, but not before some coaxing. "I think that the fact that coming to parliament with a breast-fed baby makes the news says a lot about this country", she said.

A little history was made in Washington on Thursday - little in the form of a newborn who became the first baby ever to appear on the floor of the U.S. Senate during a vote.

Australian Greens Senator Larissa Waters kisses her daughter Alia Joy after putting forward a motion on Black Lung disease in the Senate Chamber in Australia on June 22, 2017. Pat Roberts, (R-Kan.) told the AP. The Republican-controlled Senate held the vote open so Duckworth and Maile could adhere to the new rule.

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"Why would I object to it?" Sen.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, shot down Cotton's suggestion of making Duckworth vote from the cloakroom, saying the space would not be accessible due to Duckworth's use of a wheelchair.

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. The trail-blazing senator is an Iraq War veteran who lost both of her legs and damaged her arm in combat.

Several others were happy to voice support for the rules change, and could not resist taking a jab at their colleagues. On the floor of the Senate, Dick Durbin said it'll do the tradition-bound institution some good, noting "Every once in awhile to see pacifiers next to the antique inkwells on our desks or a diaper bag next to these brass spitoons, which sit on the floor never-used".

Having 10 babies on the Senate floor, as Hatch suggested, "would be a delight", Klobuchar said.

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