April 18, 2018

Historic Senate Rules Change Allows New Parents to Bring Their Children onto Senate Floor for First Time


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – The United States Senate unanimously agreed this evening to allow all Senators to bring their infant children onto the Senate floor, if necessary, during votes while their children are under the age of one. The Senate had previously banned all children from entering the Senate floor, which could have prevented Senators who are new parents from executing their constitutional responsibility of voting on issues of national importance.

“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 recognizing that sometimes new parents also have responsibilities at work,” said Senator Duckworth, who last week became the first Senator to give birth while in office. “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. These policies aren’t just a women’s issue, they are a common-sense economic issue.”

“Being a parent is a difficult job, and the Senate rules shouldn’t make it any harder,” said Senate Rules Committee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO). “I’m glad we were able to get this done to address the needs of parents in the Senate. I congratulate Sen. Duckworth and her family, and look forward to meeting her daughter.”

“Every day moms and dads balance being great parents and successful professionals, and workplaces need to recognize that reality,” said Rules Committee Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). “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.”

“Senators who are new mothers or fathers should not have to choose between caring for infants and performing their Constitutional duty,” said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). “I think it would do us good, every once in a while, to see a pacifier next to the antique inkwells on our desks, or a diaper bag next to a brass spittoon that hasn’t been used in decades. Perhaps the cry of a baby will shock this Senate into speaking up and even crying out on the issues that confront our Nation and world. Maile Pearl, welcome to the world—and welcome to the United States Senate.”