Sen. Tammy Duckworth's 10-day-old daughter Maile Pearl makes her debut on Senate floor

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, has made a lot of history in her 50 years. After losing both legs in combat, she became the first disabled woman elected to Congress. She's the first senator to give birth while in office. And on Thursday, she helped make history again: Her new daughter was the first infant allowed on the Senate floor.

A little blustery weather didn't stop Duckworth and her 10-day-old daughter from testing out a newfound freedom. She's pretty young to be making history.

"You know, hopefully we're not setting expectations too high for her," Duckworth said, laughing.

Senate Babies

Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., with her baby Maile Pearl Bowlsbey leaves the Senate floor after voting on Capitol Hill in Washington, on Thu., April 19, 2018.

AP

Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran, has cast hundreds of votes in her career. But until today, she would not have been allowed to bring her newborn with her -- an obstacle no one thought much about until Duckworth became the first pregnant sitting senator.

Women senators worked to change the rules.

"What are you going to do when you have to vote at three in the morning?" asked Sen. Amy Klobuchar. "A number of our colleagues had questions. Will she change the diaper on the floor? She will not do that."

Last night, the Senate unanimously voted to allow senators to carry their infants onto the floor.

"Part of our history is recognizing change," said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.

So, how did the baby hold up? "She slept through the whole thing," Duckworth said. "She's like, it's a non-event."

And with that, mother and daughter returned to maternity leave.

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