The Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday that formalized business attire as the appropriate dress code for members while on the floor of the chamber. This decision came in response to bipartisan criticism after Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer quietly relaxed dress requirements the previous week, allowing Sen. John Fetterman to continue wearing hooded sweatshirts and gym shorts. The new written rules, proposed by Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Mitt Romney, mandate that men wear a coat, tie, and slacks while on the Senate floor. However, the resolution does not specify dress codes for women members.
In his remarks on Wednesday, Schumer expressed his belief that an official dress code is the way to move forward. He stated, “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.” Schumer also expressed his gratitude to Sen. Fetterman for collaborating on an agreement that satisfies everyone, as well as appreciation for the leadership of Sen. Manchin and Sen. Romney on this issue. Following the vote, Fetterman’s office released a statement accompanied by a viral meme photograph of actor Kevin James shrugging sheepishly.
The resolution was a response to significant backlash that followed Schumer’s decision to drop the dress code on September 17. Due to Fetterman’s consistent appearance in gym shorts and a hoodie around the Capitol building, the relaxed dress code has been informally referred to as the “Fetterman Rule.” In light of these events, Republicans strongly criticized Fetterman, urging him to “stop lowering the bar.” This resolution seeks to address the controversy and establish a formal dress code for senators on the Senate floor.