The U.S. Senate is no longer going to enforce its dress code.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) quietly has directed the Senate's Sergeant at Arms to no longer enforce the chamber's informal dress code for its members, Axios has learned.
This "informal dress code" required members to wear professional attire when appearing on the floor of the U.S. Senate. In the case of male senators, this meant a suit and a tie.
But, apparently, members of the Senate will no longer be required to dress up - or, at least, they will not be penalized for not dressing up.
Schumer, in a statement to Axios, said, "Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit."
The new attire rule is set to take effect his week. Something worth pointing out is that, according to Axios's report, "The change applies only to senators — staff members will still be required to follow the old dress code."
The big questions here, of course, are "Why the change?" and "Why now?"
We do not know the answer to these questions with certainty because neither Schumer nor anyone else has revealed the answer. But, many seem to think that the rule change, at least in part, is designed to accommodate the attire preferences of U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA).
The Washington Examiner reports that Fetterman "is notorious for wearing his signature hoodie and gym shorts combination over business attire that is traditionally required in the Senate chamber."
Fetterman, in fact, has received significant criticism for his wardrobe choices, which many have argued are unbecoming of a U.S. Senator.
The Associated Press reported that Fetterman, originally, did wear suits when appearing in the Senate - even though, according to the outlet, "he famously hates" wearing suits.
According to the outlet, though, Fetterman, after recently being treated for clinical depression, switched back to exclusively wearing "hoodies and gym shorts," which is what he always wore before becoming a U.S. senator.
The Associated Press goes on to report that Fetterman, in recent times, has found a "workaround" to the U.S. Senate's dress rules. Per the outlet:
[Fetterman] votes from the doorway of the Democratic cloakroom or the side entrance, making sure his “yay” or “nay” is recorded before ducking back out.
Now, however, such tactics will no longer be necessary. Thanks to Schumer's rule change, Fetterman will be able to show up on the floor of the U.S. Senate wearing whatever it is that he wants to wear.