The United States Senate on Wednesday unanimously voted to allow members to bring their infants into the chamber, The Guardian reported. The resolution allows parents to bring children under the age of one into the chamber during voting.
The move came after Illinois Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth gave birth to a girl while in office on April 9. She is currently on a brief maternity leave, according to National Public Radio.
Duckworth had expressed concerns about how she would be able to care for her newborn while carrying out her constitutional duties, BBC reported. Duckworth’s pregnancy highlighted the complexities Senate rules pose for new parents. If she took a formal maternity leave, she wouldn’t be allowed to introduce legislation or have her say on bills, The Washington Post reported.
Senate Rules Committee Chairperson Roy Blunt said being a parent was a difficult job and Senate rules shouldn’t make it any harder. “I’m glad we were able to get this done to address the needs of parents in the Senate,” BBC quoted him as saying. “I congratulate Senator Duckworth and her family, and look forward to meeting her daughter”.
Duckworth said in a tweet, “I would like to thank my 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 by recognising that sometimes new parents also have responsibilities at work.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said, “Every day moms and dads balance being great parents and successful professionals, and workplaces need to recognize that reality.”