Manchin Gets His Senate Dress Code Back

Bipartisan bill formalizing dress code passes unanimously
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 22, 2023 6:05 AM CDT
Updated Sep 28, 2023 12:00 AM CDT
Manchin Wants His Senate Dress Code Back
Sen. John Fetterman walks through the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
UPDATE Sep 28, 2023 12:00 AM CDT

The Senate dress code has now come full circle, from an unwritten expectation to completely nonexistent to a formal rule. Following Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's controversial decision to tell the Senate's Sergeant at Arms to stop enforcing the then-informal dress code, Sens. Joe Manchin and Mitt Romney introduced a bipartisan bill to formalize the requirement that men wear a coat, tie, and slacks on the Senate floor. The resolution passed unanimously Wednesday, CNN reports. John Fetterman, whose casual attire was integral to the whole issue, responded to the passing of the resolution with a meme of King of Queens actor Kevin James shrugging.

Sep 22, 2023 6:05 AM CDT

Sen. Joe Manchin is working on a proposal that has bipartisan support, though at least one of his Democratic colleagues might object. A Manchin spokesperson confirmed to Forbes that the senator plans to introduce a resolution to restore the Senate dress code, which was scrapped on Monday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer asked the Senate's Sergeant at Arms to stop enforcing the unofficial requirement for business attire in an apparent attempt to accommodate Sen. John Fetterman, who prefers to wear hoodies and shorts and had been voting from a doorway.

Some 46 Republicans have already signed a letter expressing support for restoring the dress code. If Manchin and all 49 Republicans vote in favor it will only take one more Democratic vote to pass the resolution, and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin has already criticized the change, Forbes notes. "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 said on SiriusXM this week, per the Hill.

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Republican Sen. John Cornyn described senators who want to restore the dress code as "the coalition of the rational," the Hill reports. "It's just ridiculous that we should have to conform the dress code to the lowest common denominator," he said. Fetterman said Wednesday that he would wear a suit if "those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine." (More Senate stories.)

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