Bipartisan in nature, the BABIES (Bathrooms Accessible in Every Situation) Act passed just last week, sealing efforts that require more men's restrooms nationwide to be equipped with changing tables. Though it seems like it would be a no-brainer, some Republicans voted "no" on the BABIES Act, begging the simple question: "Why?" One would think that more tables equals less mess equals happier babies. Oddly, 34 Republicans who voted against the BABIES Act didn't seem to think this was so.
The act's 289 total Yeas were met with 34 Nays—you can find a full list of Congress' votes here (or here, thanks to Romper's own Karen Fratti). Though 208 Republicans voted yes to the measure, all of the no votes were from their same party. U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI), who sponsored the act, outlined its importance, asserting: "Federal buildings are paid for by taxpayers and it's important to ensure that they are as open, as accessible, and as family-friendly as possible." Ensuring that changing tables are more readily available in federal buildings such as "Social Security offices, Post Office buildings, and courthouses" makes it much more manageable for dads who are simply trying to keep their babies happy and hygienic.
House Speaker Paul Ryan tweeted in support of the act as well on Thursday, which opened him up to a wave of critique. One user asked: "Please cite the article in the Constitution granting Congress the power over this. I look forward to your answer. Thank you." Whereas Congress definitely has the authority to vote to create bathrooms in federal buildings as it so chooses, the constitutional implications of such a move could be the reason why some Republicans voted against it. To insist that new facilities be created and funded by the government on a nationwide level runs counter to some traditional, conservative views that focus on state sovereignty.
One Twitter user suggested that the act violated the Tenth Amendment, the portion of the Constitution which works to keep federal and state legislations in check. But at the time of this article's publication, none of the Republicans who voted against the act have given statements on why they did so.
The BABIES Act allows two years for the changing tables to be installed, so it might be a while before the measures take full effect. Regardless of how nay-saying Republicans felt prior to its passing, the BABIES Act is here to stay.
If just from a sanitary standpoint, the act provides necessary facilities that encourage not just convenience, but hygiene as well. It passed through Congress seamlessly and by a relatively wide margin, suggesting that, if anything, both parties, by and large, can agree that diaper changes have no political affiliation.