Nota Bene: Unraveling the Senate Dress Code

Plus, racist metal detectors, a ‘reckless’ Congress, and KRM signs off.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Senator Fetterman arrives at the Old Senate Chamber for a meeting with President Zelensky of Ukraine. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Cracks have emerged in the Senate’s Democratic caucus over Majority Leader Schumer’s apparently unilateral decision last weekend to ditch the body’s informal dress code — jackets and ties for men, business attire for women — for sitting senators but not for staffers and visitors on the Senate floor.

Mr. Schumer reportedly took the action to appease the freshman of Pennsylvania, Senator Fetterman, whose preferred uniform consists of hoodies, gym shorts, and sneakers. Mr. Fetterman was treated for depression earlier this year after having a stroke on the campaign trail that left him unable to articulate verbally with any proficiency.

Conservative champions of the upper chamber have been lamenting the move all week, describing it as an abasement of the august body’s norms and yet another sign of the decline of the American empire. Now, Mr. Schumer’s fellow Democrats are starting to balk. The majority whip, Senator Durbin, told a radio interviewer Thursday that he was “concerned” about the move, and the West Virginia maverick, Senator Manchin, circulated a petition calling for the dress code to be reinstated.

“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,” Mr. Durbin said. “I think the Senate needs to act on this.”

Congress, America Is Forever in Your Debt

A report from the Heritage Foundation released Thursday blames politicians from both major parties for the economic malaise that has settled over America. Described as a year in the making, the report chronicles more than $7.5 trillion in new spending that came out of Washington between the start of the Covid pandemic in March 2020 and the end of 2022.

This “reckless and politically opportunistic spending spree” has left the country with the worst inflation since the 1970s, declining household incomes, broken supply chains, and has made a debt crisis that once appeared to be in the distant future an immediate and pressing concern, according to the report’s authors, David Ditch and Richard Stern.

“Fundamentally, legislators in both parties used the pandemic as an opportunity to ignore any pretense of fiscal responsibility and use deficit spending to enact a panoply of new programs that would have been difficult to pass had they been coupled with equally sized tax increases,” the authors say.

America’s national debt hit $33 trillion for the first time this week.

Racist Metal Detectors?

High school students returning from the summer break at Salt Lake City will be welcomed at some high school entrances by newly installed metal detectors. The district assured parents that members of its social-emotional learning team will be on hand to “mitigate the emotional and mental impact the technology may have on students,” but not everyone is keen on the project.

The concern among some parents and a couple of people on the school board is that the detectors will have an outsize impact on students of color. “Our students are already under so much stress,” a school board member, Mohamed Baayd, says. “Walking through a weapon detector is emotionally exhausting.”

KRM Signs Off

In a farewell note to employees at NewsCorp, the 92-year-old chief executive Rupert Murdoch sounded a refrain about the state of American politics that will be familiar to anyone who ever worked around him. “Self-serving bureaucracies are seeking to silence those who would question their provenance and purpose,” he said. “Elites have open contempt for those who are not members of their rarefied class. Most of the media is in cahoots with those elites, peddling political narratives rather than pursuing the truth.”

Also Noteworthy:

  • A report from the House Education Committee released Thursday laments the “pervasive degradation of First Amendment rights on college campuses across the nation.”
  • Governor Hochul of New York has a message for migrants who want a bite of the Big Apple: “Go somewhere else.”
  • Chicago will spend $29 million building tent cities for migrants who have swamped the city.
  • President Biden repeated the same story twice in short succession during a New York fundraiser Wednesday, a common affliction among dementia patients known as “looping.”
  • Michael Bloomberg is spending $500 million in an effort to cripple America’s energy industry.

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