The Slatest

Sen. Duckworth Proposes Rule Change to Allow Senators to Bring Infants on the Senate Floor for Votes

Sen. Tammy Duckworth
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who last week became the first sitting U.S. Senator to give birth, appears set to change congressional rules to allow newborn infants on the Senate floor during votes.

Duckworth submitted the resolution, which would allow senators to bring children younger than 1 year old onto the floor during votes. During her pregnancy, Duckworth said she was concerned that some of the Senate rules would prevent her from being able to vote while breastfeeding her baby. She could not hand the baby off to someone on her staff, and the Senate does not allow voting by proxy. Senators are often on the floor for a long time for votes. Budget or health care bill vote-a-ramas, for example, can go on for many hours.


Duckworth is taking an unofficial maternity leave in D.C. so as to remain close for important votes, according to Politico. The Rules Committee could move the measure as soon as this week, and according to Politico, committee chairman Roy Blunt said he supported the change. Once passed by the committee, the rule would then need to be approved on the Senate floor.

“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,” Duckworth’s chief of staff said.