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Senator Tammy Duckworth Proposes Rule to Let Newborns on Senate Floor

The Illinois Senator, who recently gave birth, is vying for family rights on the Senate floor.

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The U.S. Senate is expected to change its rules about having children on the floor after Sen. Tammy Duckworth became the first sitting Senator to give birth while still in office. Duckworth submitted the resolution herself, and while it won’t make the Senate floor open to children at all times, it will state that Senators with kids under the age of one will be able to bring them during votes.

Children are currently not allowed on the Senate floor. Before giving birth, Duckworth, an Illinois state Senator, voiced some very reasonable concerns about how these and other rules would prevent her and future working parents from performing her job. Senators must be present to cast votes (they are not allowed to vote by proxy) and, as Politico points out, also cannot hand off children to staffers due to impartiality issues. 

Duckworth’s resolution needs to pass the Senate Rules Committee and gain approval from the Senate floor after. Right now, there’s no real conflict: the resolution to allow children on the floor has support on both sides of the aisle.

One issue Senator Duckworth has to deal with, per Newsweek, is how breastfeeding will go over on the floor. Though the new resolution would give her infant daughter floor privileges in the event of a vote, the issue of breastfeeding has not been addressed directly. Right now, the best option is a bathroom close to the Democratic side of the Senate floor.

Aside from the looming vote, Duckworth and her camp are in full support of making the Senate more family friendly.

“Sen. Duckworth is glad to be able to offer this legislation 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,” her chief of staff, Kaitlin Fahey told Politico. “She is optimistic that this will be resolved quickly.”