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594 views • September 20, 2023

Sen. Fetterman Presides Over Senate in Shorts After Dress Code Change

Capitol Report
Capitol Report
Senator John Fetterman (D-Pa.) presided over the U.S. Senate on Wednesday while wearing a button-down short-sleeved shirt and shorts. Mr. Fetterman made this appearance as the head of the Senate just two days after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced staff for the Senate Sergeant at Arms would no longer require members to dress in formal attire on the Senate floor. Mr. Schumer's decision to relax the Senate dress policy has sparked criticism, with some Republican lawmakers arguing that it lowers the sense of decorum and respect within the body. Mr. Fetterman, who has traded barbs with some Republicans over the relaxed dress code, downplayed his casual appearance after presiding over the Senate on Wednesday. “The world didn’t spin off its axis," Mr. Fetterman told NBC reporter Frank Thorp following his turn at the Senate rostrum. "You know, I just did it ... I think we will still go on." Mr. Fetterman has often worn shorts, hoodies, and short-sleeve shirts in Congress. Prior to Mr. Schumer's decision to relax the dress policy, the junior Senator from Pennsylvania often had to cast votes from just beyond the doors of the Senate floor. “There has been an informal dress code that was enforced,” Mr. Schumer said in a press statement on Monday. “Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit.” Mr. Schumer did not mention Mr. Fetterman by name when announcing the change in dress code, but the move has been widely seen as one to facilitate the Pennsylvania Democrat, who suffered a stroke before he won his seat in the 2022 midterm election and who was absent from the Senate for two months while undergoing treatment for major depression.
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