WASHINGTON, D.C. — Amid a tireless stretch of weeks over the battle to elect a new House Speaker and the rush to avoid a government shutdown, one member of Congress is juggling the long days with a newborn in tow.
In welcoming a son in August, Republican Representative Anna Paulina Luna joins just a small number of women who have given birth while serving in Congress.
“When I did see that number come out, that I was one of what, twelve? I mean, that’s crazy,” Luna said.
Recently, Luna has been seen around the Capitol with her son, even taking him to the House floor.
“There’s like this underground mom network, and so, there’s different areas around the Capitol that we’ll go, like trying to find areas to feed him,” she said.
While she’s able to travel back and forth from Florida to D.C. now, she was frustrated to find out that while she was home, recovering from childbirth, she could not vote remotely.
“I asked if I could vote while I was basically recovering, and I was told no. And so, as a result of that, I think that part of the reason why more women in Congress, whether it’s in the House or Senate side, are not having kids is because you’re ultimately faced with, ‘Can you do your job? Or are you going to be forced to have to choose between taking care of a child and voting?’” she said.
That experience is leading her to push for a rule change in the House for new moms.
“I’ve already approached the Speaker about getting rights for female members to vote while they’re recovering during maternity, and you’ll be happy to know that we’re receiving a lot of bipartisan support for that,” she said.
Luna, an ardent supporter of former President Donald Trump, lead the effort to censure Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California earlier this year.
She says she was blown away by the messages she received from members on both sides of the aisle following the birth of her son. While Congress can get heated, she says she’s watched her son help cool down tensions.
“You’ll see when the baby is on the floor, the cortisol levels drop and everyone around us is very happy and they kind of pass the baby and hold him and it’s very sweet,” she said.