WASHINGTON-Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, just 10 days old, made history on the Senate floor Thursday, becoming the first baby to join her parent in the chamber for a vote. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) recently became the first senator to give birth while in office.
And in the present day, because U.S. senators have to be physically present to vote from the floor, working from home while nursing an infant is not an option, and taking maternity leave means giving up the right to vote or to sponsor legislation. "The various rules that apply to senators like not wearing tennis shoes or flip-flops will not apply to the baby", Klobuchar said. "I would assume that would apply on the Senate floor if it's one baby or 50 babies".
Fellow Republican Senator Pat Roberts, of Kansas, said that he'd never object to such a rule change "in this day and age", though he added that he didn't think allowing infants into the Senate chambers "is necessary". The baby will also not have to wear an official United States Senate lapel pin, and onesies will be allowed, she said.
"I may have to vote today, so Maile's outfit is prepped".
Some senators don't understand the fuss at all and believe there were already children on the Senate floor before the proposal passed. Duckworth cast a thumbs-down anyway, before her colleagues descended to coo over the wee baby. That means gay male senators have room to take care of their children in the Senate chamber as well, assuring LGBTQ families aren't left out from the change.
In October, Unnur Bra Konradsdottir, a member of the Icelandic parliament, addressed lawmakers while breast-feeding her 6-week-old daughter.
Some senators then proposed making an exception just for Duckworth.
"It was quite lovely", a beaming Duckworth told reporters afterwards, stressing how lawmakers including the Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell were "very cordial and welcoming".
"I think it depends on if the parent is thoughtful about other people", Mickelsen said Thursday. Many lauded the mother for her actions, but she said it was nothing that deserved the attention. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., who had done some of the negotiating and behind-the-scenes reassuring of senators, clapped and gave Duckworth a hug when she arrived.