Boehner to create ladies’ room off House floor

by
December 2, 2010

By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press

House Speaker-to-be John Boehner is planning to install the first-ever women’s restroom next to the floor of the House of Representatives.

Boehner’s office says he’ll direct the Architect of the Capitol to convert an office into a ladies’ room just steps away from where lawmakers cast votes and debate legislation. It mirrors the space occupied by a men’s restroom on the other side of the House chamber.

Female members of the House have long complained that while their male colleagues can duck in and out of amen’s room right next to the chamber, their closest available restroom is much further away in the Congressional Women’s Reading Room, across the ornate Statuary Hall filled with sculptures of prominent Americans.

The new restroom will be located in what’s now the office of the House parliamentarian — the official who advises lawmakers on legislative procedure. That office will be relocated.

Boehner said the change was “long overdue.”

When he takes the gavel in January, Boehner will replace the first female Speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The new, Republican-controlled Congress will have 71 female members.

A ladies’ room adjacent to the Senate floor was installed in 1993, after the so-called “year of the woman” when five were elected to that chamber.

Boehner’s move comes shortly after rumors circulated that the new speaker might seek to do away with a private room in the Capitol where women can breast-feed or pump breast milk.

His staff rejected the claim.

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