Senate restores formal dress code after Schumer’s controversial move

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday to reinstate the formal dress code for male senators, following a bipartisan backlash to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-N.Y.) decision to nix the longtime requirement earlier this month.

Schumer’s decision sparked criticism from both parties

Schumer quietly got rid of the dress code in what was widely seen as an accommodation for Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who often votes from the doorways in his preferred attire of shorts and a T-shirt. Fetterman, who is running for governor of Pennsylvania, is known for his casual style and his outspoken views on issues such as marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform.

However, Schumer’s decision did not sit well with many of his colleagues, who felt that it undermined the dignity and decorum of the Senate chamber. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) introduced a resolution last week to return to the old dress code, which required men to wear a coat, tie and slacks or other long pants on the floor. The resolution also formalized the unwritten rule that women must wear suits and dresses.

Senate restores formal dress code after Schumer’s controversial move

The resolution passed the Senate with unanimous consent, meaning that no senator objected to it. Schumer did not comment on the resolution, but his spokesperson said that he supported it.

Fetterman responded with a meme

Fetterman responded to the reinstated dress code by issuing a statement that included a single photo of actor Kevin James smirking on the set of The King of Queens in 1998, which has become a widely used internet meme in recent weeks. The meme is usually accompanied by a sarcastic caption that mocks someone’s opinion or action.

Fetterman did not provide any caption for his meme, leaving it up to interpretation. Some interpreted it as a sign of defiance, while others saw it as a humorous way of accepting the outcome.

Fetterman has previously said that he does not care about the dress code and that he wears shorts because he is comfortable in them. He has also argued that his attire does not affect his ability to represent his constituents or to work with his colleagues.

The dress code debate reflects the changing culture of the Senate

The dress code debate reflects the changing culture of the Senate, which has become more diverse and less formal over time. The Senate has historically been dominated by white men who adhered to a strict code of conduct and etiquette. However, in recent years, the Senate has seen an influx of women, people of color and younger members who have brought different perspectives and styles to the chamber.

Some senators have embraced the changes and have advocated for more flexibility and inclusivity in the Senate rules and norms. For example, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost both legs in combat, was allowed to bring her newborn daughter to the floor in 2018 after a rule change. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who is openly bisexual, has worn colorful wigs and dresses that have drawn attention and praise from some quarters.

However, some senators have resisted the changes and have argued for preserving the tradition and prestige of the Senate. They have expressed concern that relaxing the rules and norms could erode the respect and civility that are essential for the functioning of the chamber. They have also pointed out that the Senate is not a place for personal expression or fashion statements, but a place for serious deliberation and legislation.

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