New rules

Tammy Duckworth and newborn daughter make history with appearance on Senate floor

U.S. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) arrives at the U.S. Capitol with her newborn baby daughter Maile Pearl Bowlsbey for a vote on the Senate floor April 19, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The Senate has voted through by unanimous consent last night to change rules to allow newborn babies under one year old on the floor during votes. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Last week, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois became the first sitting senator in American history to give birth while in office. This week, Duckworth became the first sitting senator to inspire the staid legislative body to make a rare change to its rules and allow for babies to be brought on the chamber floor. And on Thursday, Duckworth and her newborn daughter, Maile Pearl, made history when the lawmaker brought the tot onto the Senate floor. News photos captured as they made their way into the Capitol showed Maile wearing a pink hat.

Below, watch the historic moment as Duckworth brings Maile out onto the Senate floor as she registers her vote.

Late Wednesday night, the Senate voted unanimously to change its rules and allow senators to bring children younger than 1 year old onto the floor while the legislative body is in session. Duckworth, who proposed the rule change, had said, “I can’t be away from a newborn infant in the first three months for that long,” and noted that breastfeeding was a concern. Duckworth has for months been working to change Senate rules to make them more friendly for working mothers, and she took to Twitter to laud the outcome of the vote.

“By ensuring that no Senator will be prevented from performing their constitutional responsibilities simply because they have a young child, the Senate is leading by example and sending the important message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies,” she wrote in a post on Twitter. She added that the decision to allow babies on the Senate floor is not “just a women’s issue,” but a “common-sense economic issue,” and thanked colleagues for the bi-partisan support for “helping bring the Senate into the 21st Century.”

Duckworth, a U.S. veteran and war hero who lost both of her legs in combat, on April 10 gave birth to Maile Pearl, her second child with husband Bryan Bowlsbey. The senator gave birth to her first daughter, Abigail, in 2014, while serving in the House of Representatives. She is taking maternity leave, but plans to be in attendance for important votes, which can often take hours to complete. Earlier on Thursday, Duckworth said in a post on Twitter that she might actually have to go in and vote, and shared a photo showing that she and baby Maile Pearl are “prepped” (awwww) should they need make an appearance on the Senate floor.

In a show of just how rare this move was, the Senate hadn’t voted to allow additional floor privileges to its members since 1977, when the legislative body agreed to allow service dogs on the floor.

Read the full story at CNN.


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