On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate passed Senators Mitt Romney (R-UT) Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) bipartisan resolution that would reinstate the business attire dress code on the Senate floor. Before the Senate unanimously passed the resolution, Romney spoke on the Senate floor.
“The United States Capitol is more than just a place of work—it serves as a symbol of freedom and democracy to the world,” Senator Romney said of the resolution. “Hard work was done, and sacrifices made, to ensure that our legislative branch of government wasn’t just housed in some tent. As senators, we should demonstrate a high level of reverence for the institution in which we serve—and our attire is one of the most basic expressions of that respect. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to call for a return to a level of dress becoming of the Senate.”
“For 234 years, every Senator that has had the honor of serving in this distinguished body has assumed there were some basic written rules of decorum, conduct and civility, one of which was a dress code. Just over a week ago, we all learned that there were not – in fact – any written rules about what Senators could and could not wear on the floor of the Senate. So Senator Romney and I got together and we thought maybe it’s time that we finally codify something that was the precedented rule for 234 years. We drafted this simple two-page resolution that’ll put all of this to bed once and for all, by codifying the long-standing practice into a Senate Rule and making it very clear for the sergeant of arms to enforce,” Senator Manchin said in part during his speech on the Senate floor.
Text of Senator Romney’s remarks on the Senate floor can be found below and video can be found here.
Senator Manchin, we have collaborated on quite a number of things together and it’s been a great experience and a joy for me. And thank you, Leader Schumer, for beginning this process and making sure that we reached a favorable and bipartisan conclusion. This is not the biggest thing going on in Washington today. It’s not even one of the biggest things going on in Washington today. But nonetheless, it’s a good thing. It’s another example of Republicans and Democrats being able to work together and to solve—in this case—what may not be a real big problem, but it’s an important thing and makes a difference to a lot of people.
I’ve been thinking about the extraordinary Founders of our country and the leaders in the early days that decided to build this building. I mean, George Washington approved this building—and in the years that followed—huge sacrifices were made. They could have built a building that looks like a Walmart with La-Z-Boy chairs. Instead, they built this extraordinary edifice with columns and marble. Why did they do that? Why make that huge investment?
One, I think it’s to show the respect and admiration we have for the institution of the government of the United States of America. This was at a time when we were an agricultural society, and yet they made this enormous sacrifice and built this amazing edifice. And I think it’s in keeping with that spirit that we say we want those who serve inside this room, in this hall, to show a level of dignity and respect which is consistent with the sacrifice they made and with the beauty of the surroundings.
And so, I appreciate the effort that Senator Manchin has led and that Senator Schumer has put on the floor this evening such that we might be able to proceed and codify what has been a longstanding practice of showing our admiration and respect for the institution in which we serve, the very building in which we’re able to serve in, and our respect for the people that we represent. Thank you.
Text of the resolution can be found here.