https://www.axios.com/2023/09/22/senate ... now-opposeThe Senate's new casual dress code appears to be hanging on by a thread. At least three Democrats are now openly criticizing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) directive to discard the 100-member chamber's requirement for business attire — and with 47 Republicans stiffly opposed, the new code could be in jeopardy. Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) — who often has worn more casual clothes since returning to the Senate this spring after being treated for depression — presided over the Senate in a short-sleeve shirt on Wednesday. That appearance offended some old-school Senate stalwarts in both parties and fueled some behind-the-scenes grumbling among Schumer and Fetterman's fellow Democrats, according to several senators and aides. Those private misgivings burst into public Thursday when Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said, "We need to have standards when it comes to what we're wearing on the floor of the Senate." "And we're in the process of discussing that right now as to what those standards will be," Durbin said on SiriusXM's POTUS channel.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va) and Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) who already were opposed. "I don't like it," Kelly said flatly on CNN Wednesday. Manchin plans to "file a bipartisan resolution to ensure the Senate dress code remains consistent with previous expectations," according to a spokesperson. Manchin's effort to get signatures on his proposal is gaining momentum, according to Senate aides. He has told Fetterman he's opposed to the changes. On the Republican side, 46 GOP senators wrote to Schumer, asking him to reverse his decision. Sen. Katie Britt (R-Ala.) also said she was opposed but preferred to resolve the issue in private. Even among Democrats who publicly dismissed the controversy as a Republican distraction, most said they'd stick to wearing business attire on the Senate floor — and said they'd require their staffs to do the same. "I am not going to change what I'm doing, I will just tell you that,"
Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana farmer, told Axios. "My personal opinion is, you got to dress respectfully." He will still demand that his staffers "dress good," he said. "It's part of the deal." Schumer's office declined to comment. Fetterman appeared to relish taunting Republicans with his new freedom. "If those jagoffs [sic] in the House stop trying to shut our government down, and fully support Ukraine, then I will save democracy by wearing a suit on the Senate floor next week," Fetterman said in a statement. "It's all irrelevant and silly," Fetterman told Axios. "They don't want to talk about the real issues because they have indefensible positions." "They want to talk about, you know, that I dress like a slob."
Sen John Fetterman walking to the Senate chamber.