By some measures, partisanship in Congress has never been higher. But in the middle of a tense debt ceiling standoff, one lawmaker has a novel idea for reaching across the aisle: sneakers.
Representative Jared Moskowitz, Democrat of Florida, is the co-chair of the Congressional Sneaker Caucus. The 42-year-old congressman considers himself the biggest sneakerhead on Capitol Hill. “No one is challenging me at the moment for that title,” said Moskowitz, a lifelong collector who donned a pair of DJ Khaled Air Jordan V’s for the State of the Union address in February.
In April, after clocking a widespread preference for comfortable footwear in the halls of the Capitol, he launched the coalition with fellow rubber sole enthusiast Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer, Republican of Oregon. The CSC, Moskowitz said, is “a bipartisan way to get people in the room to talk about something else other than politics, so that we can learn something about each other.”
Though it sounds like a plot point out of Veep rather than then The West Wing, the Congressional Sneaker Caucus has already had to enter one thorny debate: Is it appropriate to wear sneakers in the Oval Office? Last week, when congressional leaders gathered at the White House to negotiate the debt ceiling, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, Senator Mitch McConnell, and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries all arrived wearing different versions of formal-ish sneakers, prompting a minor social media uproar reminiscent of the one kicked off a few months ago when the cast of Ted Lasso sat down with President Biden while wearing, among other shoes, Nike Dunks and Maison Margiela “Replica” German army trainers.
On Wednesday, the kicks conference responded forcefully. “The Congressional Sneaker Caucus unequivocally supports Speaker McCarthy’s and Leader Jeffries’ freedom to wear dress sneakers in the Oval Office. While debt ceiling negotiations have been contentious, we appreciate that both parties are putting their best foot forward and demonstrating that sneakers and statesmanship are compatible,” Moskowitz and Chavez-DeRemer said in a press release.
Reached by phone on Thursday morning, Moskowitz clarified that he favors traditional sneakers over dress shoes with rubber soles, saying “I want to see [politicians] in Jordans, I want to see them in Dunks.” But he’s willing to compromise: “I’ll take the middle road right now.” Still, the Sneaker Caucus has a ways to go to bridge the Beltway’s partisan divide. When we spoke, Moskowitz was on his way back to Florida—the House had adjourned for the long weekend, with no clear resolution to the debt ceiling fight. Still, Moskowitz sounded upbeat. “I think we should be fashionable while we’re raising the debt ceiling,” he said.
Copyright : https://www.gq.com/story/rep-jared-moskowitz-congressional-sneaker-caucus