Senate Changes Rules to Allow Babies on the Floor

Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth made Senate history when she gave birth last week

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., made Senate history last week when she gave birth to a daughter. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Senate took a leap forward into modernity Wednesday, changing the rules to allow mothers to bring their infants onto the Senate floor.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, the ranking Democrat on the Rules and Administration Committee, was among the lawmakers hailing the change, which was adopted by unanimous consent.

“Every day moms and dads balance being great parents and successful professionals, and workplaces need to recognize that reality,” Klobuchar said in a statement. “The United States Senate should be no exception. We are proud to have Senator Tammy Duckworth — working mom to a newborn — among our ranks and I’m glad the Rules Committee was able to swiftly make this historic rule change for her and future senators.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Minnesota Democrat made clear in a conversation with Roll Call that the change wouldn’t just apply to Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who made Senate history when she gave birth last week.

Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, the senior senator from Duckworth’s home state of Illinois, also applauded the adoption of the rules change, with a bit of wit on the Senate floor.

There Won’t Be Clothing Requirements for Baby: Senate Changes Floor Rules, Allowing Infants

“I think it will do us good in the United States Senate, every once in a while to see a pacifier next to the antique ink wells on our desks,” Durbin said.

“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,” Duckworth said in a statement. “These policies aren’t just a women’s issue, they are a common-sense economic issue.”

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