On Thursday, Tammy Duckworth became the first senator to bring a baby onto the Senate floor. (Congratulations, Senator!) The baby, Maile, was attired in a duck-bedecked (be-ducked?) onesie and a jacket (in order to conform to the dress code).
The Senate rules have been modified to permit the introduction of babies onto the floor, but what rules of decorum does this impose upon the baby?
- Privilege of the Floor: The baby shall have privilege of the floor, and when able to crawl, shall be permitted to introduce a motion to the floor.
- Appointment of a Baby to the Chair: A baby may be appointed to the chair, but it does not have to remain in the chair, and if it begins to cry, it may be removed from the chair.
- Commencement of Daily Sessions: The baby’s daily sessions shall commence at an ungodly hour of the night and not cease until such time as the baby sees fit to suspend them.
- Morning Business: The baby shall complete morning business in regular order.
- Order of Business: Whoever was not responsible for the changing of the receptacle for the baby’s morning business shall be charged with the next discharge of this duty.
- Papers — Withdrawal, Printing, Reading of and Reference: A baby may take into its mouth a paper, but the withdrawal of that paper shall be left up to others.
- Reconsideration: The baby may go to sleep, but at a moment’s notice, the baby may … not.
- Session Behind Closed Doors: The baby may summon its caretaker from behind closed doors where its caretaker was just trying to get some work done.
- Preambles: The baby cannot amble yet, but as soon as it can you had better make certain to secure the carpet.
- Motions to Discharge: If the baby has motions to discharge, the baby shall be permitted to do so.
- Retirement: A baby may refuse to retire, cling to objects around it and squall.
- Gifts: A baby may accept gifts, but it is free to drop them and coat them in Cheerios.
- No leaking.
- No filibustering.
With babies present, senators may be held to a higher standard than previously. If babies throw tantrums on the floor, they will be removed, instead of returned by the people of the state of Texas to serve another term. When asked whether President Trump is likely to fire the special counsel, babies at least have an excuse for giving a non-response. If, when presented with an exciting object, the baby becomes gravely concerned with it, and then the second that object is removed, the baby acts as though it has passed out of the world for good, the baby again has an excuse: It does not have object permanence yet. And if, in the face of some horrible idea floated by Trump, a baby rolls over, collapses and begins to cry, the baby still has an excuse: It is a baby. What is the Senate’s excuse?