The Senate has unanimously passed a formal dress code requiring business attire on the chamber floor, including a coat, tie and slacks for men.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had quietly changed the dress code last week to allow casual dress, sparking backlash from both sides of the aisle. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., , known for his more laid-back wardrobe of shorts and a hoodie, was at the center of the clothing controversy.
Led by Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, the new resolution reverses Schumer’s original decision.
"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 Wednesday. "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."
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.
"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," Schumer said on the floor. "I deeply appreciate Sen. Fetterman working with me to come to an agreement that we all find acceptable."
Fetterman spent much of the last week defending himself from the brunt of the criticism of the casual dress code.
Republican presidential candidate and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis chimed in during a speech in Jacksonville on the day the dress code was first announced.
"The U.S. Senate just eliminated its dress code because you got this guy from Pennsylvania who’s got a lot of problems," DeSantis said. "We need to be lifting up our standards in this country, not dumbing down."
Fetterman responded on X, formerly Twitter, writing, "I dress like he campaigns."
Before the bipartisan bill was passed, Fetterman had told CNN he would wear business attire during Senate votes.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Senate passes new formal dress code policy following controversy