Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) decision to relax the Senate’s informal dress code was reportedly slammed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who said that GOP senators would nonetheless continue to put on business attire.
The relaxing of the Senate’s informal dress code appeared to be in response to freshman Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who, in addition to Tuesday’s attire of a dark short-sleeved collared shirt and dark shorts, frequently dons his signature hoodie.
“I think I’m pretty safe in saying most if not all Republican senators think we ought to dress up to go to work. So I can’t imagine that we’re going to be wearing jeans on the Senate floor anytime soon,” McConnell said.
Senators were previously prohibited from entering the Senate chambers without a coat and tie.
Previously, senators had to cast their votes from the cloakroom, which meant merely sticking their head and arm into the chamber to cast a “yea” or “nay” vote, if they showed up to the Senate in short-sleeved shirts or gym attire.
When he served in the upper house from 1993 to 2005, former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), who is of Native American descent and a North Cheyenne chief, required special authorization only to wear a bolo tie on the floor.
The Senate employees and other visitors to the floor, who must still wear coats and ties or other formal apparel, are exempt from the new dress code that was issued over the weekend.