Fetterman says he'll avoid violating the old 'silly dress code,' bowing to growing backlash from colleagues
- The controversy over the Senate's new dress code may have finally reached its conclusion.
- Sen. John Fetterman told Insider that he will wear a suit when delivering speeches on the floor.
Maybe, just maybe, the controversy over the Senate's new dress code is arriving at its conclusion.
Democratic Sen John Fetterman of Pennsylvania — who frequently sports casual clothing on Capitol Hill — told Insider on Wednesday afternoon that he would only wear a suit when on the Senate floor.
"I continue to vote from the door, and when I ever speak on the floor, I was always going to wear a suit," said Fetterman. "So this is just a non-issue."
Fetterman's remarks came following reporting from Punchbowl News, confirmed to Insider by a source familiar with the caucus discussion, that the Pennsylvania senator told Democratic colleagues that he would only wear a suit when speaking or presiding over the chamber.
—Heather Caygle (@heatherscope) September 27, 2023
"The whole silly dress code thing was discussed," Fetterman told Insider. "We have so many other things that we could be addressing right now."
By wearing a suit when in the chamber and continuing to vote from the door when wearing casual clothes, Fetterman would essentially be complying with the old Senate dress code.
Last week, Fetterman presided over the chamber while wearing casual clothing.
—The Recount (@therecount) September 20, 2023
The Pennsylvania Democrat has, until now, treated the altered dress code with a degree of levity, even selling merchandise riffing on the outrage over it.
Last week, he said in a statement that he would wear a suit on the Senate floor "if those jagoffs in the House stop trying to shut our government down."
And amid the news of Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey's indictment on bribery charges, Fetterman said in a statement that he hopes to "see my colleagues fully address the alleged systemic corruption of Senator Menendez with the same vigor and velocity they brought to concerns about our dress code."
The backlash against the altered dress code was particularly strong among Republicans, all but a few of whom signed a letter arguing Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to reverse the change. But Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-highest ranking Senate Democrat, also said he was "concerned" about the change.
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia even drafted legislation to re-impose the old dress code, reportedly titled the "SHow Our Respect To the Senate (SHORTS) Resolution."
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