US senators allowed to bring babies into chamber


Sen Tammy Duckworth at the US Capitol November 7, 2017Image copyright
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Senator Tammy Duckworth has said parenthood isn’t just a women’s issue

The US Senate has agreed new rules that allow members to bring infants into the chamber when they vote.

The move comes a week after Tammy Duckworth became the first sitting US senator to give birth while in office.

She had expressed concern about how she would be able to care for her newborn daughter while carrying out her constitutional duties.

Senators said it was important that they led by example by introducing family-friendly policies.

The change was approved unanimously.

“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,” Ms Duckworth, an Illinois Democrat, said in a statement.

Senate rules committee chairman 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. I congratulate Sen Duckworth and her family, and look forward to meeting her daughter,” he said.

Ms Duckworth, 50, gave birth to daughter Maile – her second child – in a suburban Washington DC hospital last week.

She was already one of only 10 women to give birth while holding elected federal office as her first child, Abigail, was born in 2014 when she was serving in the US House of Representatives.


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