On Sunday, before declaring that senators might dress casually on the floor, Schumer sent the order to the sergeant at arms of the Senate. The amendment was reportedly made to accommodate Democratic Senator John Fetterman of Pennsylvania, who likes to wear oversized tees and sweatpants to the office.
The Republicans, led by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), say the rule change shows disrespect for the institution just to accommodate one Democratic senator who doesn’t like to wear suits.
A letter was sent by a group of Senators who strongly disagreed with the lax dress code.
It read, in part, that the Senate is a hallowed chamber, and its floor is where the nation’s business is done. There, the Senators deliberate on the laws that impact every American household and, if necessary, make the gravest of choices: whether or not to send fellow citizens to war to defend the liberties held dear. The letter urges the powers to maintain the floor’s sacredness when the world’s eyes are upon it.
It continued, noting that when Senators are allowed to dress casually on the Senate floor, they display contempt for the Senate as an institution and for the American families they represent.
Almost every Republican senator signed the letter, with the exception of Mike Braun (Ind.), Katie Britt (Ala.), and Josh Hawley (Mo.).
On Tuesday, Fetterman told The Hill that he approves of the new dress rule, citing the American value of individual liberty as his rationale.
He compared it to a Burger King “You Rule” sign.
The GOP has voiced disapproval of the lowered expectations. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joked on the Senate floor Monday that she might get away with wearing a bikini because the dress code isn’t tightly enforced. She stated her belief that the reform devalues the organization.
On Tuesday, Kentucky’s minority leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that no Republicans in the conference plan to wear casual clothes to the office.
McConnell agrees that Republican senators must dress professionally. McConnell says jeans won’t be allowed on the Senate floor anytime soon.