Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has quietly gotten rid of the dress code for members of the Senate in what’s seen as a way of appealing to the often casually dressed Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman.
Fetterman – who, like Schumer, is a Democrat – often causes a buzz on Capitol Hill by showing up in a hooded sweatshirt and shorts, though Republicans like Ted Cruz have also been seen before in sweats.
‘Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit,’ Schumer said.
The previous rules required business attire on the Senate floor, meaning a suit and tie for men.
The change helps Fetterman, as well as lawmakers who are just getting in from an airport or the gym, to allow them to vote.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has quietly gotten rid of the dress code for members of the Senate in what’s seen as a way of appealing to the often casually dressed Pennsylvania Senator John Fetterman
Previously, leaders would have to vote from the edge of the Senate floor with a foot in the Senate cloakroom if they weren’t up to the rules of attire.
Joe Calvello, a spokesperson for Fetterman, responded to the change by joking about a fringe conspiracy that there are body doubles who appear in place of the senator since his stroke.
‘Great day for John Fetterman’s body double, we don’t have to buy them suits anymore,’ Calvello quipped.
The change to the dress code, isn’t the first Democrats have pushed in recent years.
Several years ago, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, pushed to amend the dress code, a move that led to some relaxed standards for women. But it only was after some debate by others.
That led Arizona Senator Krysten Sinema, who was a Democrat who left to become Independent, to wear sleeveless attire on the floor.
‘Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit,’ Schumer said
The rules have stated that business attire rules the Senate floor, meaning a suit and tie for men
Previously, leaders would have to vote from the edge of the Senate floor with a foot in the Senate cloakroom if they weren’t up to the rules of attire
In May, Fetterman wore his favored Carhartt hoodie as he appeared alongside several Democrat heavyweights including Bernie Sanders to tout progress on debt limit negotiations.
GOP Congresswoman Lauren Boebert took to Twitter to express her disapproval at his sartorial decisions, calling his outfit ‘truly unbecoming’.
By comparison, his four Democratic colleagues were all dressed in suits, ties and more formal footwear.
‘John Fetterman redefined Casual Friday on a Thursday morning. It’s truly unbecoming for someone to show up like that to any job, let alone a job that only 100 people are elected to do. There’s just no excuse for it,’ she railed.
By comparison, his four Democratic colleagues at the debt-limit briefing were all dressed in suits, ties and more formal footwear.
But for regular followers of Fetterman, it would have been no surprise to see him wear such casual clothing.
During his time as the Mayor of Braddock and throughout his campaign for the Pennsylvania Senate he could often be seen wearing a hoodie and shorts.
Fetterman only recently returned to the Senate following a six-week hospital stay for clinical depression.
During that time he was also seen wearing a hoodie and shorts on several occasions.
Democrat Senator John Fetterman wore his signature hoodie and shorts, which led Rep. Lauren Boebert to take to Twitter to express her disapproval
Boebert previously blasted Democratic Senator John Fetterman’s choice of attire during a Senate press conference describing him as ‘truly unbecoming’
Fetterman’s four Democratic colleagues were dressed in suits and ties
Fetterman has been the source of a couple of changes to Capitol Hill since his election.
Fetterman was profiled for a cover story for Time magazine in July and said it was his debate against Republican Senate hopeful Mehmet Oz that led to his depressive episode.
He even revealed he recorded a goodbye message to his children after suffering a stroke last spring.
The senator is still suffering from auditory processing issues 14 months after the stroke, for which the Senate has had to update technology to allow him to participate.
Just days before the Democratic primary, Fetterman encountered his first major challenge in a year’s time – the stroke.
On the campaign trail near Lancaster, wife Gisele noticed that her husband’s face started slumping and drove him immediately to a hospital.
He easily won the Democratic primary and spent the day of his victory anesthetized, having a pacemaker installed.
Time reported that Fetterman recorded a video message to his children – Karl, 14, Grace, 11 and August, 9 – in case he died.
Fetterman stayed off the campaign trail for most of the summer to recover from the stroke.
By August, however, he had returned and was able to get through a standard stump speech, making some mistakes, but the debate was the event that really highlighted how much progress he still had to make to make a full stroke recovery.
Despite the debate performance, Fetterman beat Oz, the Trump-backed TV doctor, by five points.