Friday, January 6, 2023

As the vote on the speaker goes on, US House representatives bring their infants to Congress

US House Representatives take their babies to Congress as Speaker vote drags on

 WASHINGTON: Although mothers typically care for their children the most, some male members of the US House of Representatives are contributing this week as the tumultuous vote for House Speaker drags on for days.

California's Jimmy Gomez and Texas' Joaquin Castro, both Democrats, were among the members of Congress who brought their newborns to an unconfirmed swearing-in ceremony for the 118th Congress. Additionally, they have been open since Tuesday about documenting bottle feeds, diaper changes, and stroller walks while converting portions of the Capitol Building into improvised child care facilities for their young children.

When Salud Carbajal, a Democrat from California, posted a picture of Castro and Gomez with their respective children, Anna Valentina and Hodge, he referred to the Democratic cloak room as "a great spot for Congress-dads" to give advice.

On the first vote count, this child was born. He is now four months old. — Rep. Tony Cárdenas (@RepCardenas) 1672782810000 Castro's wife Anna Flores and two other children attended the events on Tuesday with him; however, for a portion of Wednesday, he and Anna Valentina flew solo. Castro told Bloomberg News that the eight-month-old did well for the most part, but at one point he had to change her on the floor of the bathroom. "As soon as we get a speaker," he stated, he will lobby Congress to install baby changing tables in the men's rooms following the experience.

On the Democratic cloakroom floor, multiple diaper changes and two bottle feeds. This speaker vote takes a long time! Rep. Jimmy Gomez (@RepJimmyGomez) 1672784701000 Gomez tweeted that the rest of his family returned home on Thursday. "Hodge and I and the rest of the working parents in America are just going to figure this out," he wrote.

It is not uncommon for members of Congress to bring their children and grandchildren to work. For their swearing-in ceremonies, numerous members on both sides of the aisle invite family members. In addition, Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth's newborn daughter made history in 2018 by accompanying her mother on the Senate floor for a vote in accordance with a rule change.

Gomez told NBC News that carrying his son onto the House floor "wasn't a big deal," but he hopes that doing so "helps normalize dads being caregivers in public." It does, in my opinion, convey the important message that each of us must contribute. He stated, "Women risk their lives to have children. We don't."

It is difficult to determine the precise number of working parents in Congress. However, according to CNBC, approximately 30% of representatives will have children under the age of 18. According to the Vote Mama Foundation, which examines the political participation of mothers, only 14 dads used campaign funds for child care during the 2020 election cycle, and only 6% of people in the 117th Congress were mothers with children of school age.

Despite the fact that it is still more prevalent for mothers to take time off from their careers to take care of their children, an increasing number of dads are choosing to be the primary caregivers for their children. As a result of the pandemic, more and more parents, including the congressmen, are all too familiar with the challenges of juggling work and child care.

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