Duckworth, daughter make Senate history

The vote comes one day after the Senate changed longstanding rules to allow newborns onto the Senate floor during votes for the first time.

Duckworth, in a statement, offered her thanks for "helping bring the Senate into the 21st Century by recognizing that sometimes new parents also have responsibilities at work".

The Illinois Democrat recently became the first sitting U.S. Senator to give birth.

Other Senators were happy to make the rule change.

Senators said it was important that they lead by example by introducing family-friendly policies.

Illinois Democrat Tammy Duckworth went to work in the Senate with her newborn in arms, being the first lawmaker to do so in Washington.

One day after the Senate voted to allow babies onto the chamber's floor, Sen.

Senators didn't dare come out against babies.

"But what if there are 10 babies on the floor of the Senate?" he asked.

Video of the moment shows Duckworth arriving on the floor to applause from her colleagues. So Gillibrand got permission to hover at the threshold of a door to the Senate floor, holding her son while leaning her head in to vote.


She gave birth to her second daughter, named Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, April 9. However, a motion to allow entry for children under the age of one later passed without objection. The private reassurances to members of both parties, she said, have "been going on for weeks". After all, he argued, it's indeed possible for a senator to cast a vote from the cloakroom.

"I'm glad we were able to get this done to address the needs of parents in the Senate", he said. The petition now has over 20,000 signatures. Duckworth was then greeted by her Senate colleagues on the floor, including Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said, "I don't think [it] is necessary" to allow an infant onto the floor.

"I congratulate Sen Duckworth and her family, and look forward to meeting her daughter".

"I've never been a nursing mother, but it seems to me that at a minimum there's a women's bathroom very close to the Senate, which I think would be available at least to provide some level of privacy", Alan Frumin, who stepped down from his role in 2012, told Newsweek in February.

"It's the ultimate conflict as a working mom". Seeing that the Senate wants to make it easier for new moms to simultaneously care of their newborns and represent their constituents will hopefully help usher in more gender-balanced representation. "Can I not do my job?"

"I've done it", he said about the cloakroom.

The decision to allow Maile's presence on the floor this week - blazer or no blazer - was the latest sign that the Senate's increasing share of female members is pushing the institution to reconsider some of its conventions. While Duckworth was just nine years old at the time, it is a change that now affects her life greatly given her disability.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the father of six, grandfather of 14 and great-grandfather of 23, said he had "no problem" with such a rules change.

The rule change could prove advantageous for new parents who work in the chamber.

  • Tracy Klein