Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer quietly loosened the Senate’s informal dress code, likely to appease Democrat Senator John Fetterman.
Relevant staff and the Senate sergeant-at-arms received a notice on Friday that the new informal dress code will take effect today to start the week.
While senators sometimes make political statements with their choice in fashion, the previous policy required men and women to dress in business attire on the floor.
But the changes will let senators wear essentially whatever they want on the floor, according to a person with direct knowledge of the new policy.
Senator Fetterman is most often seen wearing a hoodie and basketball shorts, especially since returning to the Senate after being treated for clinical depression earlier this year. He typically stands in the doorway of the Senate’s side entrance to vote before fleeing the floor until his vote is needed again.
Fetterman has taken heat for his appearance by both Democrats and Republicans.
During debt limit negotiations, Republican Congresswoman Lauren Beobert called Fetterman’s hoodie “truly unbecoming”. He was pictured standing next to his Democrat colleagues, who were all wearing suits, ties, and dress shoes.
Fetterman’s spokesman joked when asked for a comment about the change.
“Great day for John Fetterman’s body double, we don’t have to buy them suits anymore,” Joe Calvello quipped.
The changes are also being billed as an assist to senators who are called for last-minute votes during their time at the gym or after just getting off a plane.
Staff, guests, and anyone other than senators will still need to wear business clothes as described by the old dress code.
Asked about the change, Schumer said, “Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit.”
This isn’t the first change that has been made to the dress code, though it is the first time the dress code has been effectively done away with.