For those concerned that women — especially mothers — are being left out of politics, a major step in the right direction was made this week when the US Senate unanimously agreed to allow lawmakers to bring babies onto the chamber floor for the first time. The milestone decision comes on the heels of another history-making moment in government: this month, Tammy Duckworth became the first sitting senator to give birth while in office. She welcomed Maile Pearl Bowlsbey on April 9.
As such, it was Duckworth who introduced the rule that would allow infants 12 months and younger onto the Senate floor. And, yes, a unanimous victory is something to be celebrated, but it wasn't without some pushback. In an interview with Quartz, Senator Amy Klobuchar revealed that many senators and aides had questions, some more bizarre and infuriating than others.
"Will she be changing diapers on the floor?"
"What about breastfeeding?"
"Will the baby conform to dress code?"
Although it was confirmed that infants won't need to adhere to the Senate's strict dress requirements — which didn't allow women to wear pantsuits up until the '90s — Tammy didn't take any chances when she brought Maile in for a vote on Thursday.
Happy & honored to introduce Maile Pearl to my colleagues on the Senate floor while doing my job & serving the people of Illinois pic.twitter.com/clj9lrPouy— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) April 19, 2018
I may have to vote today, so Maile’s outfit is prepped. I made sure she has a jacket so she doesn’t violate the Senate floor dress code (which requires blazers). I’m not sure what the policy is on duckling onesies, but I think we’re ready pic.twitter.com/SsNHEuSVnY— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) April 19, 2018
"Maile's outfit is prepped," she wrote alongside a photo of the adorable ensemble she prepped for her little one. "I made sure she has a jacket so she doesn't violate the Senate floor dress code, which requires blazers. I'm not sure what the policy is on duckling onesies, but I think we're ready."
Clever duck prints aside, one question tackled the potential slippery slope of letting Maile inside the chamber: "what if, suddenly, there's a bunch of babies on the floor?" It means, Klobuchar pointedly said, "we've elected more women."
We'll vote a "hell yes!" to that.