Joe Manchin ramps up the Republican-led outrage, pushes petition to reverse dress code change

The West Virginia Democrat also plans to issue a resolution that would reverse Chuck Schumer's Senate rule change

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published September 22, 2023 1:41PM (EDT)

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on September 06, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) talks to reporters at the U.S. Capitol on September 06, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is circulating a proposal to reinstitute the Senate's previous dress code, which Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., relaxed over the weekend to let senators wear whatever they wish to on the floor. And following a week of ire over the rule change being directed at one of Manchin's Democratic colleagues, the senator plans to introduce a resolution next week seeking a reversal in the change. 

 "Next week, Senator Manchin intends to file a bipartisan resolution to ensure the Senate dress code remains consistent with previous expectations," a spokesperson for Manchin's office told Fox News on Friday.

Machin's resolution would, in essence, revert the upper chamber's dress code back to requiring senators to wear business attire in the chamber.

"I've signed it," one GOP senator told The Hill, explaining it would "define what the dress code is."

Schumer's decision to loosen the dress code appeared to accommodate freshman Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., who frequently donned a hoodie during his campaign and wore a dark short-sleeved collared shirt with matching shorts to work Thursday. 46 GOP senators circulated a letter earlier this week calling on Schumer to restore the dress code. And Manchin is not the only Democrat joining the GOP-led pushback.

"The senator in question from Pennsylvania is a personal friend, but 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," Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois said on Thursday's edition of "The Briefing with Steve Scully" on SiriusXM's POTUS channel. "I think the Senate needs to act on this," he added. 

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, called the bipartisan group of senators wanting to restore the previous dress code "the coalition of the rational," adding that a Senate resolution would allow "other senators to speak" in favor of a dress code and that he believes it will come to the floor. "It's just ridiculous that we should have to conform the dress code to the lowest common denominator."