WASHINGTON DC – Sen. John Fetterman welcomed the break in the Senate’s dress code for members, but some Republicans criticized the move, with one calling it an “embarrassment” for the American people.
“I think it’s a little more freedom, which should be bipartisanship,” Fetterman, a Pennsylvania Democrat known for his casual attire, told Fox News. “I don’t know why the right side seems to be losing its mind over this.”
“I think it’s a good thing, but I’m going to use it sparingly,” he added, wearing a short-sleeved button-down shirt. “I hope other colleagues will benefit as well.”
But Sen. Cynthia Lummis disagreed.
“This is a terribly sad development for the United States Senate,” the Wyoming Republican said. “I have never seen civility or sense of decorum improve by dressing like a redneck.”
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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has ordered the Sergeant-at-Arms to stop enforcing a dress code on his members, Fox News confirmed Sunday. The move follows debate over whether Fetterman’s casual attire is appropriate for a member of the Upper House.
“When you dress like that here, which is the sloppiest a person can dress even if they’re going to a gym alone… the bar is lowered,” Lummis said of Fetterman. “The Senate is degraded. It is debased. This should not be typical of the way we dress when we go to the United States Senate.”
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The change allows Fetterman to continue wearing his trademark hooded sweatshirts and gym shorts and no longer requires male senators to wear a jacket and tie in the Senate. Female senators are not required to wear business attire, but all non-members entering the Upper House must still adhere to the dress code.
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But even before the directive, Fetterman was skirting the dress code by voting from the Democratic locker room door or from the side entrance, The Associated Press reported in May.
“It’s embarrassing,” said Sen. Roger Marshall. “The people of Kansas don’t want me showing up in a hoodie. Out of respect, we should have some sense of decorum here.”
The Kansas Republican told Fox News he would continue to follow the Senate dress code.
“The Senate is a very important institution that people admire,” he said. “I’m here to represent the people of Kansas, and to honor them, I feel like I should have a certain standard of clothing.”
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The Senate dress code appears to be more of an informal custom enforced by the sergeant-at-arms than an official policy, Axios reported.
“Actually, I’m going to go the other way. I’m going to speed up,” Lummis said. “I’m going to dress more formally.”
To watch the full interviews with the senators, click here.
Ramiro Vargas contributed to the accompanying video.
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