Thanks to Tammy Duckworth, the Senate Just Made a Historic Change

U.S. Senate votes to allow newborn children onto Senate Floor for first time

Senators unanimously voted on Wednesday to permit children under age 1 on the Senate floor during voting, NBC News reported.

The resolution loosening the ban was passed with unanimous consent-but not without some griping by Republican lawmakers. The Republican-controlled Senate held the vote open so Duckworth and Maile could adhere to the new rule.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, the father of six, grandfather of 14 and great-grandfather of 23, said he had "no problem" with such a rules change, but he hoped the parents of newborns would use "discretion" in bringing them. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer inquired about the well-being of Maile's sister and wished them a safe trip home. Meanwhile, the female members of the House had to wait until 2011 to get a restroom near the House floor.

The proposal originally generated some fussiness in the typically staid U.S. Senate, which is bound by tradition and seldom changes its rules.

Also causing confusion among the male Senators was whether "diaper bags" were still used. She is taking a 12-week maternity leave in Washington in order to be nearby for close votes.

Though she's dealing with her own challenges as a working mother with a newborn, Pike-Norton said she wanted to start the petition for Duckworth, and future senators, because it encompasses what it means to be a working mom. "It feels great", she said as reporters and pages looked on.

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Frumin, like some Senate Republicans, anxious too that changing Senate Rule 23, which prohibits family members from the Senate floor, would open the floodgates to senators bringing their children and grandchildren on the floor too often. The ruling was put through to accommodate senators, both men, and women, who need to nurse their children during hearings.

It's unclear how soon Duckworth might take advantage of the new rules. Senators are also now allowed to breastfeed during votes if necessary, ensuring that they would not have to choose between caring for their child and doing their jobs.

At least some senators welcomed the cultural shift.

"I'm not sure what the policy is on duckling onesies, but I think we're ready", she quipped.

"Someone needs to tell @senorrinhatch that HE is one of MANY babies on the senate floor crying and throwing tantrums on a daily basis", responding one person on Twitter. And senator Marco Rubio said he was unconcerned about the Senate being overrun by infants.

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