During the hot summer months, the weather can be brutal and the best way to keep cool is to wear light, airy attire. Washington’s hot, muggy summers can be especially unforgiving. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is apparently immune to the weather and is enforcing the House dress code at the expense of female reporters’ comfort. The House of Representatives has a dress code that indicates men must be dressed in a suit and tie and women cannot not wear sleeveless blouses or dresses and no sneakers or open-toed shoes.
Recently, Independent Journal Review‘s Haley Byrd was removed from the Speaker’s lobby for wearing a sleeveless dress. Byrd said:
‘When I was kicked out that day, I was just trying to pass through the area to reach another hallway, but I was told I was violating the rules. They offered to find a sweater for me to put on, so it wasn’t some tyrannical end of free press, but I opted to just go around instead. But recently they’ve been cracking down on the code, like with open-toed shoes. I suspect the rules are being emphasized now that it’s summertime and excruciatingly hot outside and everyone is dressing for the weather.’
Another female reporter was removed from the Speaker’s lobby for wearing a sleeveless dress, before being removed she tried to improvise sleeves with sheets of paper, but was removed anyway.
The rules that pertain to the House also apply to the Speaker’s lobby. The Speaker’s lobby is one of the prime spots for reporters to get interviews with members during breaks and the rules are now being enforced, despite the weather. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said:
‘Members should periodically rededicate themselves to the core principles of proper parliamentary practice that are so essential to maintaining order and deliberacy here in the House. Members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House however brief their appearance on the floor may be.’
There has been an exception to the rules in the past. In February, Ivanka Trump wore a red off the shoulder dress exposing her bra strap during the entire event, although she was not removed or reprimanded. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois, wore a hoodie in 2012 to protest the shooting of Trayvon Martin. Rush was then escorted from the floor. Ryan doesn’t appear to be wavering on the subject of dress code and it will be enforced, regardless of the weather.
Here is a video of Paul Ryan’s remarks:
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 23, 2017
Featured Image via Getty/Drew Angerer