Updated Sep 20, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Read: 46 GOP senators slam Schumer's Senate dress code enforcement change

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) arrives for the “AI Insight Forum” at the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on September 13, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Sen. John Fetterman on Capitol Hill last week. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) led a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) with 45 other Republican senators on Monday criticizing his decision to no longer enforce the chamber's dress code for its members.

What they're saying: "The world watches us on that floor, and we must protect the sanctity of that place at all costs," said the letter, signed by all but three Republican senators.

A screenshot of a tweet by Sen. Rick Scott, saying: "The Senate floor is a special place. It's not hard to show it some respect and dress like a grown up."
Photo: Sen. Rick Scott/X
  • "Allowing casual clothing on the Senate floor disrespects the institution we serve and the American families we represent."

The big picture: The new directive enables Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) to linger on the Senate floor before and after votes, per Axios' Hans Nichols and Barak Ravid, who first reported news of the rule's relaxation over the weekend.

  • Fetterman has favored gym shorts and hoodies over the business attire traditionally required in the chamber since returning to the Senate after being treated for clinical depression earlier this year.
  • He said Tuesday he didn't think the matter would be a big issue, per the New York Times. "The Republicans think I'm going to burst through the doors and start break dancing on the floor in shorts," he said.

Of note: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he told fellow Democrat Fetterman that he believed that relaxing the rules was "wrong," per the NYT.

What they're saying: Representatives for Schumer did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment, but he told Nichols and Ravid earlier: "Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit."

Read the letter in full, via DocumentCloud:

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Sen. Joe Manchin.

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