‘The Fetterman Rule’: Senate Cuts Dress Code Enforcement
U.S. Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) gestures to reporters as he arrives at the U.S. Capitol on April 17, 2023 in Washington, DC. Fetterman is returning to the Senate following six weeks of treatment for clinical depression.
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Senate will no longer enforce a dress code for senators a few months after Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) made headlines for disregarding the rules.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) directed the Senate’s sergeant-at-arms to stop enforcement, a change that will go into effect next week, Axios reported on Sunday.

“Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit,” Schumer said in a statement to the news outlet.

The change is tailored to only affect senators and not staff members.

“Senators can now [wear] what ever (sic) they want. However, others entering the chamber must comply with the dress code. Coats/ties for men. Business attire for women,” Fox News journalist Chad Pergram said in a post to X, confirming the Axios report.

Relaxing enforcement of the dress code, which appears to be more of a tradition than written policy, is sure to make life easier for Fetterman in particular.

The Associated Press (AP) reported in May that the freshman senator, who has a penchant for hoodies and shorts, worked around the rules for the Senate floor by popping in to vote from the doorway of the Democratic cloakroom or side entrance.

“He’s setting a new dress code,” Sen. Peter Welch (D-VT) joked at the time.


The AP report further explained that Fetterman’s preference for cozy attire was seen as a good sign for the senator as he struggled with depression and anxiety following a near-fatal stroke last year.

“People close to Fetterman say his relaxed, comfortable style is a sign that the senator is making a robust recovery after six weeks of inpatient treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where his clinical depression was treated with medication and he was fitted for hearing aids for hearing loss that had made it harder for him to communicate,” the report said.

Axios noted the clothing standards were previously relaxed to allow women to show their arms.

When news of the latest dress code shakeup got out on Sunday, senators and others reacted on social media.

“Double standard?” Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) asked on X.

“Will we see [Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)] in jorts and a tank top?” quipped Sen. Eric Schmitt (R-MO).

“The Fetterman rule,” said Fox News contributor Guy Benson.

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