Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., emphasized the need for the Senate to reconsider the independent choice of Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to cease enforcement of the dress code.
In an uncommon public difference of opinion with his party's top official, Durbin, the Democratic majority whip, expressed he is "concerned" regarding the lax guidelines, which some believe caters to Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., who has a preference for casual attire such as baggy shirts, hoodies, and athletic shorts.
"I'm concerned about it. You know, the Senator in question from Pennsylvania is a personal friend," Durbin shared with SiriusXM presenter Steve Scully on a segment from "The Briefing with Steve Scully," scheduled for full broadcast this coming Friday.
On Monday, Schumer communicated that the personnel for the chamber’s Sergeant-at-Arms — the entity responsible for Senate attire regulations — won't be upholding a dress code on the Senate floor any longer.
"In the past, there was a customary dress code in place," Schumer commented. "Senators have the autonomy to decide their attire on the Senate floor. I intend to keep wearing a suit."
Fetterman has publicly applauded the alteration in dress protocol and has playfully criticized Republicans who disapprove of Schumer's adjustment to the Senate's dress norms.
"I think 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.
He further expressed to Scully his inability to "comprehend" Schumer's rationale, subsequently urging the Senate to challenge and possibly modify the decision.
This is how John Fetterman showed up to preside over the Senate yesterday.
Imagine a doctor showing up to care for their patients like this.
Imagine a lawyer showing up to defend you in court like this.
Imagine a pilot flying a plane like this.
Imagine anyone else doing this.… pic.twitter.com/5cH6yn2Axd
— Joey Mannarino (@JoeyMannarinoUS) September 21, 2023
The Republicans, with Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., at the forefront, argued that allowing informal attire on the Senate floor diminishes the respect for the institution.
"The Senate is a place of honor and tradition, and the Senate floor is where we conduct the business of the American people. It is where we debate the policies which impact every American family and, when necessary, it is where we must make the gravest decision imaginable – whether to send our fellow Americans into battle to defend the freedoms we all hold dear. The world watches us on that floor and we must protect the sanctity of that place at all costs," they wrote.
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