WASHINGTON — For nearly two-and-a-half centuries, it’s been tradition to wear professional, business attire on the floor of the US Senate, and Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s in “shock” the Senate Majority Leader would drop the dress code.
Grassley, a Republican, says Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York should not have abandoned the long-standing policy of respecting the institution by wearing the proper attire. “I think the whole policy stinks. It’s surely unprecedented,” Grassley says. “I haven’t really heard a good rationale for it, but I don’t intend to dress down as a result of it. If we aren’t dressed with a suit and necktie, we can’t enter the Senate floor.”
Even with the relaxed rules, Grassley wouldn’t consider wearing one of his John Deere hats into the chamber. “Sometimes, you’ll have our colleagues maybe dress for the last vote before they go to an airplane to go home for the weekend, maybe they’re dressed in blue jeans, they stick their head in the door, raise their hand and say yes or no to the final vote,” Grassley says. “That’s as close as you get to the lack of decorum, but it isn’t on the Senate floor.”
Grassley turned 90 on Sunday and says it’s important to carry on traditions as they’ve stood the test of time for a reason. “This is a bad, bad idea,” Grassley says. “We’ve had a dress code for 240 years. It’s always been self-enforcing, but if you want the United States Senate to have decorum, that should not have been done.”
Reports say the updated rule only applies to senators, as staffers have to continue to follow the dress code.