For years, the Senate has followed a strict dress code, requiring its members to dress in traditional business attire. But that all changed last week when Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) unexpectedly loosened the code, a move quickly dubbed the “Fetterman Rule” due to Sen. John Fetterman’s (D-PA) accompanying attire of hoodies and baggy shorts. The move immediately stirred up controversy, with senators from both sides of the aisle voicing their disagreement.
But now, the Washington buzz is beginning to settle after the Senate unanimously passed a bipartisan resolution to restore the Senate’s formal dress code. The resolution was sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and requires senators to wear business attire on the floor.
It was called the SHORT Act, which was a direct jab at Fetterman.
In response to the Senate restoring its strict dress code, Fetterman assured his Democratic colleagues during a private meeting that he would wear a suit while speaking or presiding over the Senate floor. Visitors and staffers were still required to wear the specified formal clothing, reminding us that the loosening of the dress code only applied to senators.
The No. 2 Senate Democrat, Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), even voiced his disagreement with the move. The outcry from senators was so great due to the lowering of standards that Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) joked about wearing a bikini! Nearly every Republican senator signed a letter complaining about the change.
The resolution restores respect for the traditional customs of the Senate, and Sen. Romney was quick to point out this truth. “As senators, we should demonstrate a high level of reverence for the institution in which we serve — and our attire is one of the most basic expressions of that respect,” he said.
This resolution is a clear reminder that reverence, respect, and honor for tradition are essential in any respected position. We expect our officials to conduct themselves in a professional manner.