Report: Democrat Joe Manchin Breaks with Schumer, ‘Circulates Proposal’ to Restore Dress Code

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) speaks at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on September 20, 2022 in Washington, DC. Manchin spoke on energy permitting reform and preventing a government shutdown. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images, Al Drago/Bloomberg

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is reportedly making a push to return to the informal Senate dress code that required senators to sport business attire on the floor, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) axed last weekend.

The Hill’s Alexander Bolton reported on Thursday that Manchin “is circulating a proposal to reestablish the Senate’s dress code,” citing two “senators familiar with the proposal.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks to reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Nov. 15, 2022. Democrats celebrating a successful effort to keep control of the U.S. Senate this year will soon confront a 2024 campaign that could prove more challenging. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Per the report:

One person familiar with the resolution said it would essentially return the Senate dress code to what it was last week, which required senators to wear coats and ties or business attire when on the Senate floor.

“I’ve signed it,” said one senator, who explained it would “define what the dress code is.”

On Monday, Schumer said in a statement that “senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit,” the Associated Press noted. 

The biggest beneficiary of Schumer’s relaxation of the dress code is undoubtedly Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), who has regularly worn sweatshirts and shorts into the United States Capitol, including on the day of his return in April after a two-month absence for treatment of clinical depression. 

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) boards an elevator as the Senate considers amendments for and voting on the Fiscal Responsibility Act, raising the debt ceiling, on Capitol Hill on June 01, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Fetterman portrayed himself as a “blue-collar tough guy” on the campaign trail, often opting for Carhartt sweatshirts instead of a traditional suit and tie. Notably, the “blue collar” working class persona does not necessarily jive with his education at Harvard University, and that his parents reportedly supported him financially while he was mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania. 

Now, Fetterman has taken his style to Washington, DC, which Breitbart News Immigration Reporter and Fashion Critic John Binder describes as an “insistence on larping working poor in the Senate.” 

Binder caught up with men’s fashion expert W. Matt Tinch about Fetterman’s wardrobe choices amid Schumer’s decorum change.

“If you’re familiar with Fetterman’s history … he just got out of like a clinical depression, he was in a facility, and he’s come out publicly and talked about his depression,” he told Binder in the article published Thursday.

“In one sense, Fetterman is authentic if you believe his story,” Tinch added. “However, it’s a question of how much of it is authentic. He’s obviously a person who can afford more than a hoodie and basketball shorts … If you know Fetterman’s history, it just seems odd. He’s portraying himself as just an average joe, and it feels dishonest.”

A chorus of Republicans have come out against the dress code change, including Sen. Tommy Tuberville, a former head coach of Auburn University football. 

“It bothers me big time,” Tuberville said, per NBC News. “You got people walking around in shorts, that don’t fly with me.”

Establishment Republican Sen. Susan Collins (ME) also longs for the status quo.

“I think there is a certain dignity that we should be maintaining in the Senate, and to do away with the dress code, to me, debases the institution,” she said.


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