Senate votes to reinstate formal dress code requirements

September 28, 2023

In a major reversal, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution this week to reinstate its formal dress code. 

According to The Washington Times, the resolution passed unanimously on Wednesday after being put forward by West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin and Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.

Romney says Senate chamber isn't "some tent"

"The United States Capitol is more than just a place of work — it serves as a symbol of freedom and democracy to the world," Romney was quoted as saying in a statement.

"Hard work was done, and sacrifices made, to ensure that our legislative branch of government wasn’t just housed in some tent," the lawmaker stressed.

"As senators, we should demonstrate a high level of reverence for the institution in which we serve — and our attire is one of the most basic expressions of that respect," he added.

Manchin defends "basic written rules of decorum"

Manchin issued a statement of his own that read, "For 234 years, every Senator that has had the honor of serving in the Senate has assumed there were some basic written rules of decorum, conduct and civility."

"My bipartisan resolution with [Sen. Romney]codifies the long-standing practice into a Senate Rule," Manchin added.

The Times noted that this change will impact Pennsylvania Democratic Sen. John Fetterman, who has a preference for wearing shorts and hoodies.

Fetterman mocked critics for "freaking out" over his clothing choices

An Associated Press report from earlier this month explained that Fetterman "has been unapologetically wearing shorts as he goes about his duties, voting from doorways so he doesn’t get in trouble for his more casual attire."

It recalled how Fetterman has defended his choice of dress, saying that he doesn't understand why his critics are "freaking out."

"Like, aren’t there more important things we should be working on right now instead of, you know, that I might be dressing like a slob?" he added.

Missouri Republican Sen. Josh Hawley also took advantage of the rules change by wearing boots and jeans to the Senate floor.

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