WA State Dems Take Advantage of Nursing Mother to Rush Vote on Bill

WA State Dems Take Advantage of Nursing Mother to Rush Vote on Bill

In another example of Democrats’ hypocrisy in regards to the “war on women” meme, Democrats in the Washington State Senate took advantage of the absence of a Republican Senator who briefly stepped off the floor to feed her newborn son to push through a vote on a bill that wasn’t even on the schedule.

“I think it is shameful for them to make her choose between being on the floor and voting and nursing her child. This caucus, which presents itself as being the caucus of families, would willingly drive a wedge between a mother and her infant?” Republican Senator Ann Rivers said. “I think that is shameful. Just shameful. And deeply disappointing.”

The Washington State Senate is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats; when Republican Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry temporarily stepped away from the floor to feed her newborn son, it left only 24 Republicans to the Democrat’s 25 senators.

As soon as she was off the floor, Democrat Sen. David Frockt immediately began a push for a vote on a bill that was not up for discussion.

Senator Frockt called for a roll-call vote, likely assuming that Democrat Lt. Governor Brad Owen would put them over the top. Fortunately for Republicans, Sen. Holmquist Newbry got back to the floor just in time to cast a vote defeating the Democrat effort.

Senator Holmquist Newbry’s office has refused to comment on the incident. State GOP communications director Keith Schipper said that this is all “quite personal” to her.

For his part, Frockt says he didn’t know why Holmquist Newbry left the floor. “I didn’t know she was nursing. All I knew was that they had a member who was absent from the floor,” he said. 

In an exclusive interview, Sen. Ann Rivers, Republican Senate majority whip, said she was saddened by the cynical move by Democrats to take control of the floor. “I was ashamed that in this day and age they thought they could do that, driving a wedge between a mother and her baby like that.”

Of the Democrats’ claim to be the party of women and minorities, Rivers said, “Their actions speak so loud that I can’t hear what they are saying.”

“The interesting thing is,” Rivers said, “that almost 20 years ago to the day the Democrats had attacked Republicans for being against women and I thought we’d gotten beyond that attitude, but I guess not.”

Rivers was referring to an incident from March of 1993 when Washington Republicans criticized a Democrat Representative for bringing her baby to the floor of the House during a session–calling it “unseemly” at the time. The ensuing controversy brought the legislature to the decision to make more efforts to accommodate elected officials who were also mothers.

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