Updated Sep 27, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Senate unanimously passes formal dress code after uproar

Sen. John Fetterman speaking with reporters after the Senate Democrats' weekly lunch in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Senate passed a resolution Wednesday to make business attire a requirement on the Senate floor.

The big picture: The moves comes after backlash to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) directive to scuttle the chamber's informal dress code, which was widely viewed to be inspired by Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.).

Details The bipartisan resolution requires that business attire be worn on the floor of the Senate, "which for men shall include a coat, tie, and slacks or other long pants."

  • The bill does not spell out what the attire includes for women.

Catch up quick: Fetterman has often worn more casual clothes since returning to the Senate this spring after being treated for depression, and he presided over the Senate in a short-sleeve shirt earlier this month.

  • That appearance caused grumbling among both parties, and dozens of GOP senators wrote to Schumer, asking him to reverse his decision.

What they're saying: "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 said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

  • "I deeply appreciate Senator Fetterman working with me to come to an agreement that we all find acceptable, and of course I appreciate Sen. Manchin and Sen. Romney's leadership on this issue," he added.
  • Fetterman, in response, shared a meme on social media featuring actor Kevin James in costume as the character Doug Heffernan casually dressed on the set of 1990s TV sitcom 'The King of Queens."

Go deeper: Now Dems are saying "nay" to Senate's relaxed dress code

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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