The Senate voted on Wednesday evening to reverse an informal guidance issued by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer last week regarding the dress code for senators on the Senate floor. The resolution, which was passed by voice vote with no objections, now requires senators to adhere to a business attire policy. For men, this includes wearing a coat, tie, and slacks or other long pants. The resolution did not specify what women should wear.
The bipartisan resolution was introduced by Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) in response to the backlash against Schumer’s announcement that the dress code would no longer be enforced by the chamber’s Sergeant-at-Arms. This decision was prompted by Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman’s recent practice of wearing shorts and sweatshirts in the Senate, voting from doorways to avoid stepping onto the chamber floor and risking reprimand for his casual attire.
Schumer acknowledged the events of the past week and expressed that formalizing a dress code is now necessary. “Though we’ve never had an official dress code, the events over the past week have made us all feel as though formalizing one is the right path forward,” he stated.
This resolution marks a significant change in the Senate’s approach to dress code enforcement and aims to bring a more professional appearance to the chamber floor.
Senate Dress Code Guidelines Amended
In a surprising move, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, together with Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, announced the modification of the Senate dress code guidelines. The original guidance, issued last week, faced immediate resistance from members of both parties, who argued that some standards for dress should be upheld on the Senate floor. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., expressed his concerns about the initial guidelines, while Republican Leader Mitch McConnell stated that senators should dress appropriately for work. As a jesting response, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, lightheartedly declared her intention to wear a bikini to work the following day.
However, Fetterman dismissed critics and urged senators to focus on more pressing matters. He admitted that, despite the change, he may not personally take advantage of it. Moments after the revised guidance was released, Fetterman was seen voting from the doorway in his shorts. While he acknowledged that having the option to dress more casually was nice, he assured reporters that he did not intend to overuse it.
The bipartisan amendment to the dress code guidelines received accolades from senators following its passage on Wednesday evening. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, took to X (formerly Twitter) to express his approval, exclaiming, “God bless COMMON SENSE!”