Maine Sen. Susan Collins jokingly told reporters Monday that she plans to wear a bikini on the Senate floor in response to new lax dress code changes introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that are set to come into effect this week.
Schumer has directed the Senate’s Sergeant at Arms to no longer enforce the chamber’s informal dress code for its members, according to Axios, which first reported the rule change.
“I plan to wear a bikini tomorrow to the Senate floor and [Sen.] Chris Coons [D-Del.] is gonna wear shorts because there’s no dress code anymore,” Collins told reporters Monday, per the Washington Examiner.
The first ever change to the dress code will allow Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.), who suffered a stroke several months before the 2022 election but never told the public about it, to wear his favored gym shorts and hoodies in the Senate chamber.
“Now, obviously, I’m not gonna wear a bikini,” the 70-year-old Maine Senator clarified. “But of all the issues that we have to deal with right now, ranging from the possibility of the government shutting down to what we do about Ukraine, we’re talking about the Senate dress code? That’s extraordinary to me.”
Collins said that the change bothered her because she thinks “there is a certain dignity that we should be maintaining in the Senate, and to do away with the dress code, to me, debases the institution.”
Fetterman was elected to the Senate in 2022 and initially wore the traditional suit and tie on the Senate floor. But after returning to the Senate in March following a six-week hospital stay for clinical depression, he has more frequently opted to don his casual attire.
“Senators are able to choose what they wear on the Senate floor. I will continue to wear a suit,” Schumer said Sunday.
A Senate official told Axios that the rule change will go into effect this week, and will only apply to senators, not staff members.
In the interest of journalism, the Maine Wire consulted an AI image generator to investigate what it might look like if Collins embraced the relaxed Senate dress code. Though these images may appear realistic, they are not.