The US Senate has passed a resolution formalizing business attire as the proper dress code for the floor of the chamber by unanimous consent.
This comes after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer chose to stop enforcing the unwritten requirement, and Democratic Sen. John Fetterman’s casual dress became a flashpoint in the Capitol.
The bipartisan bill from Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney requires that members abide by a real dress code – rather than an unwritten custom – when on the Senate floor, that includes a coat, tie, and slacks for men. The resolution doesn’t specify what is deemed as business attire for women on the Senate floor.
“Though we’ve never had an official dress code, the events over the past week have made us all feel as though formalizing one is the right path forward,” Schumer said. “I deeply appreciate Senator Fetterman working with me to come to an agreement that we all find acceptable, and of course I appreciate Sen. Manchin and Sen. Romney’s leadership on this issue.”
Before the measure passed, Fetterman told CNN’s Manu Raju that he would wear business attire when presiding over the Senate floor.
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Following the vote, Fetterman’s office released a brief statement that included a viral meme photograph of the actor Kevin James.
In 2017, then-House Speaker Paul Ryan relaxed rules on attire after dozens of congresswomen objected to a prohibition on displaying bare arms. In 2019, the attire for women in the Senate was relaxed after then-Senate Rules Committee chair Amy Klobuchar pushed for a change so women could wear sleeveless dresses.
This story has been updated with additional information.