Sen. John Fetterman, a Democrat from Pennsylvania who is renowned for his casual style of clothing, applauded the Senate’s decision to take a break from enforcing a dress code for its members, but several Republicans voiced their disapproval of the move.
Fetterman expressed his approval of the proposal and emphasized the increased level of autonomy it grants to legislators. He expressed astonishment at the criticism from those on the right and indicated that he hopes other colleagues take use of this newly found freedom. He hoped that others would take advantage of this newly found independence. On the other hand, he indicated that he would only make occasional use of it.
Sen. Cynthia Lummis, a Republican from Wyoming, was one of the few senators who voted against the decision and called it a “terribly sad development for the United States Senate.” She voiced her fear that wearing in a more casual manner may bring the Senate’s etiquette down to a lower level.
Chuck Schumer, the leader of the majority in the Senate, gave orders to the Sergeant-at-Arms to suspend enforcing the dress code for senators. This amendment removes the requirement that male senators present in the Senate wear a jacket and tie, making it possible for Fetterman to continue wearing the hooded sweatshirts and gym shorts that have been his trademark. There is no need that female senators dress in a businesslike manner. However, visitors who are not senators but enter the chamber of the Senate must still conform to the dress code.
Sen. Roger Marshall, a Republican from Kansas, condemned the casual clothes, calling it an embarrassment and said it was inappropriate. He underlined how important it was to keep a certain degree of decorum at all times and declared that he would continue to dress formally while speaking on the Senate floor by donning a jacket and tie.
Others have voiced worries about the possible impact the move may have on the Senate’s image and etiquette, while others have welcomed the shift as a method to allow greater freedom in the senators’ choice of clothes. Instead of being an official guideline, the dress code in the Senate is more of an unwritten tradition that is upheld and enforced by the Sergeant at Arms.