Democrats want to change a 181-year-old rule to allow religious headwear in the House

(TIME) As they prepare to welcome two newly-elected Muslim women into the 116th Congress, Democrats have proposed a clarification to a 181-year-old rule banning representatives from wearing hats on the House floor.

If approved, the new rules would allow lawmakers to wear religious headwear, like hijabs and kippahs, once Democrats take control of the chamber in January.

Representative-elect Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, wears a headscarf. She was born in Somalia and came to the United States as a refugee.

The proposed rule was co-authored by current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, ranking Democrat on the Rules Committee Rep. Jim McGovern and Omar. It comes as part of the Democrats’ new House rules proposal package. The drafted changes promise to “ensure religious expression,” by “clarify[ing] in the rules that religious headwear is permitted to be worn in the House chamber.”

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