House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.)
(CNSNews.com) -- During a July 13 press briefing on Capitol Hill, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) announced that he will be working with the House Sergeant-at-Arms to update and modernize the dress code in the U.S. House chamber and Speaker's lobby.
The business professional dress code, which prohibits sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes for women, and requires men to wear a jacket and tie, has received criticism after some female Capitol Hill journalists -- who were not meeting the code’s standards -- were recently prevented from entering the Speaker's lobby.
Ryan, who said the issue was brought to his attention over the recent break, made it clear he was not behind the dress code but that the code has, in fact, been in place under his predecessors, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
“The Sergeant-at-Arms was simply enforcing the same interpretation of the rules as under my predecessors,” said Ryan. “This is not new and certainly not something that I devised. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that enforcement couldn’t stand to be a bit modernized.”
Ryan said he plans to work with the Sergeant-at-Arms to update the dress code, but that professional attire is still expected.
“Decorum is important, especially for this institution and a dress code in the chamber and in the lobby makes sense, but we don’t need to bar otherwise accepted contemporary business attire,” Ryan explained. “So, look for a change on that soon.”
Pelosi, who held the position of Speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011, responded to Ryan’s announcement, tweeting “Glad to see @SpeakerRyan is updating the dress code for the House Floor. These unwritten rules are in desperate need of updates.”