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House votes to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman for falsely pulling fire alarm

House votes to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman for falsely pulling fire alarm


The House of Representatives is formally reprimanding Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., on Thursday morning over his pulling of a fire alarm earlier this year.

The House voted largely along party lines, 214 to 191, to censure Bowman, who pulled the alarm despite no immediate threat of a fire in the middle of a dramatic floor vote. Three Democrats voted with Republicans to censure him – Reps. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Wash., Chris Pappas, D-N.H., and Jahana Hayes, D-Conn.

Five members of the House Ethics Committee voted “present.”

Lawmakers were on Capitol Hill on Saturday, Sept. 30, for an intense day of negotiation aimed at averting a government shutdown when the clock struck midnight. 

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House Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman pulled a fire alarm at a congressional office building in late September. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty)

As Democrats stalled for more time before a vote on the House GOP’s funding extension, chaos briefly broke out in the Cannon House Office Building on the Capitol complex when a fire alarm rang out, forcing the building to be evacuated.

Video and eyewitness testimony soon revealed that it had been pulled by Bowman, a member of the progressive left-wing “Squad” and a former school principal. There was no emergency going on at the time.

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Bowman denied doing it on purpose to give his colleagues more time, telling reporters after the incident, “I was rushing to make a vote, I was trying to get through a door. I thought the alarm would open the door.”

Bowman pulling fire alarm

Bowman appeared to pull the alarm as Republicans began voting on the stopgap bill to avert a government shutdown. (U.S. Capitol Police)

He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in late October and agreed to pay the maximum $1,000 fine.

The censure resolution was introduced by Rep. Lisa McLain, R-Mich., as “privileged” on Tuesday, meaning the House was forced to act on it within two legislative days.

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A Democratic vote to stop the censure from coming to the House floor failed 216 to 201, with the top Democrat on the ethics committee, Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., voting “present.”

US House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries speaks at a podium with other members of House Democratic leadership standing beside him

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries accused Republicans of wasting time on Wednesday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

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House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., accused House Republicans of trying to waste time by moving ahead with the motion after their bid failed on Wednesday evening. 

“We’re all on the House floor wasting time talking about fire alarms. Not the economy, not inflation, not affordable housing, not lowering costs, not the gun violence epidemic that continues to claim the lives of our young people all across America,” Jeffries said.



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