Kelly's Blog: The Senate Floor is No Place for Babies

The U.S. Senate is ready for diaper duty.

In a rare move Wednesday night, Senators approved a motion that would change longstanding rules to allow newborns on the Senate floor during votes for the first time in the chamber's history. The rule change, voted through by unanimous consent, was spearheaded by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), following the birth of her second child this month.

At the risk of sounding unsympathetic and anti-woman (which I am not, I'm a working mom with two kids), is there a reason why the House and Senate can't offer some sort of in-house childcare, rather than having a baby in chambers?

I understand she has to be there physically to cast a vote, which is difficult for a new mom on maternity leave. (Also difficult for other lawmakers who are dealing with medical leave, like Steve Scalise in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound or John McCain undergoing cancer treatment) but aren't there some places where it is just not appropriate to bring a baby?

Should lawyers be allowed to bring their newborns into the courtroom during trials? What about a teacher trying to teach algebra with a baby strapped to her? No lawmakers objected because they would be called anti-woman. But I will come right out and say it instead of catering to ONE woman out of fear; why not establish a workplace childcare facility and offer tax incentives to companies that do the same so that MORE women might be able to balance motherhood and careers?

Personally, I feel the senate floor is no place for babies. -Kelly

Photo: Getty Images

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