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After Sen. John Fetterman controversy, Senate unanimously passes formal dress code

Senate rules change to lift dress code stirs up controversy over Fetterman's attire
Senate rules change to lift dress code stirs up controversy over Fetterman's attire 02:54

(KDKA/CNN) — The U.S. Senate has passed a resolution formalizing business attire as the proper dress code for the floor of the chamber by unanimous consent.

This comes after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer chose to stop enforcing the unwritten requirement, and Democratic Sen. John Fetterman's casual dress became a flashpoint in the Capitol.

The bipartisan bill from Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney requires that members abide by a real dress code – rather than an unwritten custom – when on the Senate floor, that includes a coat, tie, and slacks for men.

"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. "I deeply appreciate Senator Fetterman working with me to come to an agreement that we all find acceptable, and of course I appreciate Sen. Manchin and Sen. Romney's leadership on this issue."

Before the measure passed, Fetterman told CNN that he would wear business attire when presiding over the Senate floor. Following the vote, Fetterman's office released a brief statement that included a viral meme photograph of the actor Kevin James.

David Urban, who was the chief of staff to the late Sen. Arlen Specter, told KDKA-TV before Wednesday's change that Fetterman has worn a coat and tie on the Senate floor and in committee hearings and should continue to do so.

"It is serious work that you're doing in the Senate. You're not gardening. You're running the nation," Urban told KDKA-TV.

Keith Schmidt, state director for former Sen. Rick Santorum, also told KDKA-TV that the U.S. Senate should maintain the highest standards.

"Two of the places where you still see a sense of decorum is in the court and at church, but if these gentlemen and ladies are actually approving judges, they should at least live by that standard," Schmidt said.  

To view the resolution, click here.

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