It seems that House Speaker Paul Ryan is kicking women out of his lobby if they decide to wear a sleeveless shirt or dress. This rule has been enforced in May, when Independent Journal Review‘s Haley Byrd was kicked out of the lobby due to violating the rule.
According to multiple journalists who spoke with CBS News, the rule is real.
“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,” Byrd told CBS News. “I suspect the rules are being emphasized now that it’s summertime and excruciatingly hot outside and everyone is dressing for the weather.”
This is real. Fellow female reporters barred from Speaker's lobby for wearing sleeveless dresses while doing their jobs. (It's hot in DC) 🙃 https://t.co/8evY6wQmA8
— K Tully McManus (@ktullymcmanus) July 6, 2017
“All House Floor rules made for Members of Congress and their staff apply to the Speaker’s Lobby,” Ryan’s spokeswoman, AshLee Strong, told CBS when asked about the rules.
The speaker’s lobby is one of the prime places to conduct quick interviews during breaks. And it seems that women aren’t the only ones getting kicked out for wearing the wrong attire, men are expected to adhere to a suit-and-tie dress code too.
Women, also, cannot wear shoulder-baring blouses or dresses, or open-toed shoes.
The House dress code rule vaguely states women must wear “appropriate attire” — a statement very open to interpretation.
“These rules are far from clear cut and there are no visible signs defining them,” the report noted.