Senate passes bipartisan business attire policy; Fetterman offers meme in response

The Senate unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday putting into effect a formal dress code, The Associated Press reported.

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The vote comes a week after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., changed the dress code to allow casual dress on the Senate floor.

The new resolution, shepherded by Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Mitt Romney of Utah, calls for requiring business attire on the chamber floor, including a coat, tie and slacks for men.

“The United States Capitol is more than just a place of work — it serves as a symbol of freedom and democracy to the world,” Romney said. “Hard work was done, and sacrifices made, to ensure that our legislative branch of government wasn’t just housed in some tent. As senators, we should demonstrate a high level of reverence for the institution in which we serve — and our attire is one of the most basic expressions of that respect.”

Schumer’s decision to relax the standards for the Senate floor was a nod to Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., who is known for wearing shorts and a sweatshirt hoodie in the halls of Congress.

Manchin said he and Romney introduced the new rule to codify formal wear and “put all of this to bed once and for all.”

“For 234 years, every senator that has had the honor of serving in this distinguished body has assumed there were some basic written rules of decorum, conduct and civility, one of which was a dress code,” Manchin said in a speech on the floor.

After the vote, Schumer said from the 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.”

“I deeply appreciate Sen. Fetterman working with me to come to an agreement that we all find acceptable.”

After a week of defending his choice of clothing, Fetterman told CNN prior to Wednesday’s bipartisan vote that he would wear business attire during Senate votes.

Following the vote, Fetterman’s office sent out a photo of the viral meme showing actor Kevin James as the “King of Queens,” shrugging his shoulders and smirking at the camera.

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