A bipartisan group of House lawmakers is pushing leadership to allow new moms to utilize proxy voting up to six weeks after giving birth.
The resolution, led by Reps. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) and Sara Jacobs (D-Calif.), would allow moms to spend time with their newborns, and supporters argue it removes a barrier to public service experienced by many women. Just 12 women have given birth while serving in the House.
“This place is completely out of touch with Americans,” Luna said at a press conference. “We’re not going to just let this go. So we will be eventually passing this, we just don’t know when.”
Luna acknowledged “hesitancy” among leadership to adopt the resolution, which Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) chalked up to the possibility both parties “sometimes want to have the members here to have their thumb over” them.
A spokesperson for Speaker Mike Johnson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Jacobs added: “Anna and I’ve already done the hard work of finding an area where there’s bipartisan agreement, so I’m hopeful that we can have resolution.”
Other members speaking in support included Reps. Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.), Jill Tokuda (D-Hawaii), Jared Moskowitz (D-Fla.) and Gaetz.
Burchett said he remains opposed to proxy voting in most cases, citing frequent use of the practice during the Covid pandemic, but called being a new mom a different situation.
“We shouldn’t force new mothers in Congress to choose between representing their constituents and caring for their child,” he said. “Mama should be with that baby.”