Congress passes measure allowing Ilhan Omar to wear hijab on House floor

The vote overturned a 181-year-old rule.
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Ilhan Omar, Twitter

Minnesota's U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar has already brought about one noticeable change in Congress – she'll be allowed to wear her hijab, or headscarf, on the House floor.

That's because the House, now led by Democrats and in session as of Thursday, has voted to overturn a 181-year-old rule against wearing hats or headwear in the chamber. 

Omar thanked her fellow representatives for the gesture:

The change was proposed by party leaders late last year partly to make sure Omar would be able to wear her hijab — which she does in observance of her Muslim beliefs —  when she began her term. 

She and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan made history in November by becoming the first Muslim women ever elected to Congress (though Tlaib does not wear a headscarf). 

As the Washington Post points out, the rule-change doesn't completely do away with the ban on hats, as the wording states: "During the session of the House, a Member... may not wear nonreligious headdress or a hat or remain by the Clerk’s desk during the call of the roll or the counting of ballots."

In other words, only religious headwear is exempted from the ban.

The Post says the measure, which was part of a larger package of new House rules, passed 234 to 197.

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