On Wednesday, the Senate passed a new rule that will allow senators to be on the chamber floor with children under the age of 1. The change follows the birth of Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, Sen. Tammy Duckworth’s second daughter, last week.
Duckworth (D-Ill.), 50, became the first senator to give birth while serving in the Senate, sparking a debate about rules forbidding children from being on the floor while the chamber is in session.
The House has long allowed children — of any age — to be on the floor during legislative business as long as they are accompanied by their parents.
Duckworth thanked her Senate colleagues “on both sides of the aisle, particularly those in leadership and on the Rules Committee, for helping bring the Senate into the 21st Century,” she said in a statement on Wednesday. The following day, she made an appearance on Capitol Hill to vote on whether Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma should be confirmed as President Trump’s pick to lead the NASA. (Bridenstine was confirmed, with all Republicans in favor and all Democrats, including Duckworth, opposed.)
Before voting, Duckworth even tweeted out what her daughter would be wearing.
The Senate vote to change the rule was bipartisan, with no dissents. There are also 23 women serving in the Senate.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said: “Being a parent is a difficult job, and the Senate rules shouldn’t make it any harder.”
“Every day moms and dads balance being great parents and successful professionals, and workplaces need to recognize that reality,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, said.
Even longtime senators decided it would not be disruptive to have Duckworth’s child on the floor.
“Babies on the Senate floor? We got a lot of crybabies on there now,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), an 81-year-old serving his 22nd year in the Senate.