US Senate allows babies in chamber

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Washington, April 19 (IANS) In a rare move, the US Senate has voted unanimously to allow the babies of its members into the chamber.

The rule change was done on Wednesday to accommodate senators with newborn babies, allowing them now to be able to bring their less than one year old children onto the Senate floor and breastfeed them during votes, CNN reported.

The move came a week after Tammy Duckworth, 50, 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 lead by example by introducing family-friendly policies.

Duckworth, who became a mother for a second time, applauded her fellow lawmakers who she said helped to “bring the Senate into the 21st Century by recognizing that sometimes new parents also have responsibilities at work”.

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“By ensuring that no Senator will be prevented from performing their constitutional responsibilities simply because they have a young child, the Senate is leading by example and sending the important message that working parents everywhere deserve family-friendly workplace policies,” Illinois Democrat Duckworth said after the vote.

Senate rules committee chairman Roy Blunt said being a parent was a difficult job and Senate rules shouldn’t make it any harder.

Duckworth is 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.

–IANS

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