Schumer faces bipartisan backlash following dress code rule change

September 23, 2023
Robert Ayers

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) is now facing a bipartisan backlash for his decision to eliminate the U.S. Senate's dress code, The Hill reports

In case you missed it, this past week, Axios reported that Schumer "quietly has directed the Senate's Sergeant at Arms to no longer enforce the chamber's informal dress code for its members."


Now, U.S. Senators no longer need to get dressed up in order to appear on the Senate floor. Men, for example, no longer have to wear a suit and tie. The dress code, though, is still in place for staff members.

"Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit," Schumer said.

Why Schumer has decided to make this change is something that remains unclear. Many suspect that the change, at least in part, is designed to accommodate the favored attire of U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA).

Fetterman, as several outlets have reported, is well-known for wearing a hoodie and gym shorts.

Previously, this wardrobe choice prevented Fetterman from appearing on the Senate floor during votes. But, thanks to Schumer's rule change, Fetterman can now appear on the Senate floor wearing whatever clothing he desires.

The backlash

Schumer has faced significant pushback for the rule change, and the pushback has come from both Republicans and Democrats.

Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), for example, has said:

The senator in question from Pennsylvania is a personal friend, but I think we need to have standards when it comes to what we’re wearing on the floor of the Senate.

Durbin went on to say that senators are currently discussing what these standards ought to be.

Others, however, are simply trying to get things to go back to the way they were before Schumer's rule change.

Manchin's resolution

Manchin, according to reports, has put together a resolution looking to do just this - to reinstate the Senate's informal dress code.

A spokesperson for Manchin has said, "Next week, Sen. Manchin intends to file a bipartisan resolution to ensure the Senate dress code remains consistent with previous expectations."

The Hill's report suggests that Manchin already does have significant support for his resolution. But, at the time of this writing, it is not clear just how far this support extends, including whether it is sufficient to override Schumer's rule change. We should get a better idea by the end of the coming week.

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