US Senate Formalizes Dress Code

    US Senate Formalizes Dress Code
    Last updated Sep 29, 2023
    Image credit: Unsplash


    • Led by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Mitt Romey (R-Utah), the US Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a formal dress code that requires members to wear business attire on the floor, including a coat, tie, and slacks for men.
    • The new resolution comes a week after Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued an informal guidance that senators could wear what they want while voting or speaking in the chamber.
    • Schumer’s policy was seen as an accommodation for Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who had been consistently wearing a hoodie and shorts since his return to work in April from treatment for clinical depression.
    • Romney said on the Senate floor that the resolution is meant to get senators to “show a level of dignity and respect, which is consistent with the sacrifice they made and the beauty of the surroundings.”
    • While the Senate was addressing its dress code, the likelihood of a government shutdown that would affect millions of people continued to loom over Congress.


    Establishment-critical narrative

    Dress codes anywhere are an absurd means to exclude certain groups of people from participating in systems of power. But in the Senate, it's an even more egregious waste of time considering how many more important things to be worrying about. If Fetterman’s constituents don’t care how he dresses, his colleagues shouldn’t either. The Senate should be focused on things like the looming government shutdown.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Elected Senators should have some dignity and dress respectfully when voting on life-or-death legislation. Senators who don't have enough respect to do so are an embarrassment to the institution. Luckily Schumer's attempt at rolling back decorum was rebuked and some modicum of etiquette has been restored to the hallowed halls of governance.

    Establishment split



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